Paris dims lights -- to save energy, battle pollution

  • Article by: PAUL BOGARD , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: February 25, 2013 - 7:10 PM

And so should we all. It’s actually not to our advantage for our nights to be so bright.

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crychangFeb. 25, 13 7:31 PM

Light causes cancer and diabetes? I"ll take my chances. Let"s still keep a few lights on.

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greg62Feb. 26, 13 5:58 AM

They probably can't afford to keep the lights on. France has been chasing away it's wealthiest citizens with massive tax hikes.

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mdcastleFeb. 26, 1310:16 AM

Yet another "let's destroy our lifestyle to save the earth" piece without good fact checking. France generates about 80% of it's electricity from nuclear power, and probably closer to 100% of the ovenight load, so hows shutting off some lights going to save carbon there. Office building generally leave there lights on because there's still people there overnight, janitors, guards, and the like, not because someone is too lazy to click them off, and there's been studies that (big surprise) there's less accidents on lighted highways then non-lighted highways. Mn/DOT doesn't maintain streetlights because they have extra money to spend, it's because there's a proven safety benefit.

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goldenoneFeb. 26, 13 1:53 PM

Meaningless commentary with no proof. This story is full of preposterous statements.

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reidFeb. 26, 13 3:57 PM

All you naysayers, may I suggest that if you have an interest in dark sky, as some of us raised on farms and in the dark wanting our children to see what has been here until the last hundred years, do a little digging into the amount of energy wasted radiating off into space to create those interesting pictures of where the cities and towns are. Or the killing of millions of migrating birds being drawn to buildings. Or rare turtles who come ashore in the wrong places because someone like you thinks they need to leave a night light on. And, of course, criminals need to see to do their mischief. Actually a totally dark building is hard to get around in, and more than one police call has been made when neighbors, used to seeing darkened buildings, know something is amiss because they see lights moving around in the office or school. There isn't space to beat back all your knee jerk reactions, but it is amazing to go to Tucson or even Phoenix (which has a lot more light than needed) to see how dark it is and people (even the elderly) get along just fine. Just one of many examples... why do businesses need to keep their advertising lights on for hours after they close? Why do billboards need lighting from the bottom rather than from the top (which is more efficient and cuts down the glare into the skies)? There are already some guidelines about lighting around airports and areas where you hope your pilot isn't being blinded by some arc light shining up into the sky. As we age we need good lighting, not excessive lighting, to see well. Sure, you'll have the last word here with some smart alecky comment, but the FACTS are correct lighting is less powerful, evenly distributed, aimed down, and has a light switch on it so it can be turned off when not needed. As noted, there have been several police studies and in some cases when towns were running out of money, forced shutdowns of some lighting and to the surprise and amazement of the naysayers, no one could document an increase in crime nor accidents. A fact, however unpleasantly it doesn't fit your argument. Twenty years ago the estimate was upwards of a billion dollars a year was wasted in poor or unneeded lighting. With energy prices up and more people I'm sure that is worse. I'd just as soon not have to pay more for government or services or goods if they would just keep it down.

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gopherncFeb. 26, 13 4:21 PM

"Meaningless commentary with no proof. This story is full of preposterous statements." Really? Please identify one. How is saving money, protecting our health, reducing our impact on the ecosystems around us, and bringing back some of the night sky "meaningless"? How is the references to the PG&E study evidence of "no proof"? The statements made in this piece are only "preposterous" if you're not open-minded enough to consider what's being said here: we are piling up all these costs for basically no reason. We need light, but we don't need as much as we are using.

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TeddyWelshFeb. 28, 13 6:28 AM

We stayed overnight on an island in Lake Titicaca where there was no electricity. The sky was amazing! The stars so beautiful. Yes, it was very dark and also very quiet. The local people use flashlights and have solar batteries to run minimal lights in their homes. It was interesting how our eyes adjusted. Even with no artificial lights we could still see albeit not as well as in the daylight. While I wouldn't want to retreat to no lights, I do think we as a society could do with less.

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