Sunday March 31st we switch to daylight saving time. At 2am it will be 3am. That’s one hour less sleep, but one hour more sunshine. The time change exists for this extra hour of daylight saving us energy. Long contested, the time change is no longer popular. Back to a controversy that is not about to die out…
Photo Lukas Blazer
It’s 5 o’clock, Paris is waking up…
It would be daylight from 5am to 9pm in summer if we stayed on winter time. Contrary to the famous lyrics of Jacques Dutronc’s song, few people get up at 5 am, even in Paris. It’s better not to waste the light, hence the idea of shifting the legal sunrise time as summer approaches. This is, in short, the logic of the schedule change that awaits us on Sunday, March 31.
To save light and especially electricity, the legal time is ahead of solar time. In the summer, this schedule allows us to benefit from daylight from 6 am to 10 pm.
Oil shock and incandescent lamps
After the 1973 oil shock, energy saving became a priority for Western countries. Incandescent light bulbs, which were energy-intensive, represented a major item of consumption at the time. Introduced in 1976, summer time as we know it today is the result of the oil crises and energy-intensive lighting methods.
In the age of LEDs, lighting no longer weighs as heavily in the energy mix. The economic argument loses its importance with regard to the secondary effects of the time change: time difference for the elderly and children, effect on health and efficiency at work… The induced consequences of the time change could be more important than the direct savings.
Photo Ben White
The government wants to set the record straight
The public inquiry that has just been completed has produced a conclusive result. 80% of the 2 million participants want the time change to be stopped. Today, the government should announce a decision without surprise, to stop the time change from 2021. It remains to synchronize the time with our neighbours who also change the time twice a year. The subject is European. The government cannot wind its watch alone.
The polemic is therefore not exhausted and will undoubtedly give rise to new discussions. Indeed, after the choice of a constant time throughout the year, it remains to choose a time, that of the sun (GMT+0), winter time (GMT+1) or summer time (GMT+2). Patience is still needed before knowing the time of the future.
But the present time is sure to change on Sunday, March 31. So here’s to your watch and let there be light!
Photo Brad Neathery