The scourge of sunlight

I’m with Barry Hertz of the National Post — time for Toronto to calm the fuck down when it comes to heat alerts. He tracked the panic , visiting several cooling centres yesterday — as he puts it, “one of those perfect summer days we could only dream of last winter.”

Some highlights of his heat-crazed day:

3:00 CP24 anchor Teresa Kruze says “it is dangerously hot out there.” The temperature displayed in the weather box to her immediate right says it is 28C….

4:51 Inside Metro Hall, there is a sign directing visitors to the “emergency cooling centre,” with letters in an appropriately frost-tipped font. Get ready for some sweet, sweet cooling action. I get a paper cup filled with room-temperature water. Besides two people ready to hand out water, I am the only person at the three tables at the cooling centre.

Besides the fact that panicking over 25-degree weather is ludicrous, there’s the unfortunate corollary of overusage of power, as people who move from house to car to office have no idea whether they actually feel hot or cold nor any intention of dressing for the weather, but rather take their advice from CP24 and crank up the air conditioning unquestioningly, leading to:

Media Advisory – Ontario’s Electricity Demand Rises by 20 Per Cent in Three Days
TORONTO, July 17 /CNW/ – As Ontarians turn on their air conditioners to
deal with the heat and humidity, electricity use in the province increases
significantly. Electricity demand is almost 4,000 MW or 20 per cent higher
today than on Monday July 14. This increase in electricity use is equivalent
to adding the needs of a city twice the size of Mississauga to the provincial
power system.

… with home power prices, of course, capped to encourage as much usage as possible (at the expense of well, everyone, including the poor saps who conserve).