Skip to content

BBC Liked It Better When India Was In The Dark

November 23, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t mothcatcher


The BBC have been showing their usual bias again on news programmes today.

The report below includes a brief video that has been shown on TV:



A study of pictures of Earth by night has revealed that artificial light is growing brighter and more extensive every year.

Between 2012 and 2016, the planet’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by more than 2% per year.

Scientists say a "loss of night" in many countries is having negative consequences for "flora, fauna, and human well-being".

A team published the findings in the journal Science Advances.

Their study used data from a Nasa satellite radiometer – a device designed specifically to measure the brightness of night-time light.

It showed that changes in brightness over time varied greatly by country. Some of the world’s "brightest nations", such as the US and Spain, remained the same. Most nations in South America, Africa and Asia grew brighter.




Only a few countries showed a decrease in brightness, such as Yemen and Syria – both experiencing warfare.

The nocturnal satellite images – of glowing coastlines and spider-like city networks – look quite beautiful but artificial lighting has unintended consequences for human health and the environment.

Let the Sun go down

Lead researcher Christopher Kyba from the German Research Centre for Geoscience in Potsdam said that the introduction of artificial light was "one of the most dramatic physical changes human beings have made to our environment".

He and his colleagues had expected to see a decrease in brightness in wealthy cities and industrial areas as they switched from the orange glow of sodium lights to more energy-efficient LEDs; the light sensor on the satellite is not able to measure the bluer part of the spectrum of light that LEDs emit.

"I expected that in wealthy countries – like the US, UK, and Germany – we’d see overall decreases in light, especially in brightly lit areas," he told BBC News. "Instead we see countries like the US staying the same and the UK and Germany becoming increasingly bright."

Since the satellite sensor does not "see" the bluer light that humans can see, the increases in brightness that we experience will be even greater than what the researchers were able to measure.

Prof Kevin Gaston from the University of Exeter told BBC News that humans were "imposing abnormal light regimes on ourselves".



As mothcatcher points out, the whole report is completely negative. There is no mention of the obvious upsides, or how wonderful it is that poorer countries are beginning to get access to cheap, reliable energy.

Perhaps we should all aim to be like North Korea!


Mothcatcher has contacted BBC Newswatch to offer his views. Maybe others could follow suit.

The website is:

  1. Dave Vought permalink
    November 23, 2017 7:18 pm

    Who pays these clowns.

  2. quaesoveritas permalink
    November 23, 2017 7:52 pm

    Well, speaking as an amateur astronomer, I would like to see less light pollution.
    We are rapidly losing the ability to see the night sky.
    Also, light pollution is having a detrimental effect on nocturnal animals.
    Economic progress and even urban lighting should not go hand in hand with light pollution.

  3. dangeroosdave permalink
    November 23, 2017 8:13 pm

    We can make North Korea brighter. No problem.

    • November 24, 2017 12:12 pm

      What are you saying, Dave? Give Rocket Man some incoming?

  4. Joe Public permalink
    November 23, 2017 8:17 pm

    Seems like the Law of Unintended Consequences has kicked in:

    The Switch to Outdoor LED Lighting Has Completely Backfired

    To reduce energy consumption, many jurisdictions around the world are transitioning to outdoor LED lighting. But as new research shows, this solid-state solution hasn’t yielded the expected energy savings, and potentially worse, it’s resulted in more light pollution than ever before.

    Using satellite-based sensors, an international team of scientists sought to understand if our planet’s surface is getting brighter or darker at night, and to determine if LEDs are saving energy at the global scale. With the introduction of solid-state lighting—such as LEDs, OLEDs, and PLEDs—it was thought (and hoped) that the transition to it from conventional lighting—like electrical filaments, gas, and plasma—would result in big energy savings. According to the latest research, however, the use of LEDs has resulted in a “rebound” effect whereby many jurisdictions have opted to use even more light owing to the associated energy savings.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    November 23, 2017 8:21 pm

    Oh dear ….

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 23, 2017 8:23 pm

      Or maybe …

      • Joe Public permalink
        November 23, 2017 9:50 pm

        (Apols for repeating image. When first posted, ‘Bad Gateway’ reported.)

      • quaesoveritas permalink
        November 24, 2017 11:02 am

        No, I can’t spot the difference 😉

    • NeilC permalink
      November 23, 2017 8:57 pm

      +1 actually 7 cos it’s the beeb

  6. HotScot permalink
    November 23, 2017 8:27 pm

    “Lead researcher Christopher Kyba from the German Research Centre for Geoscience in Potsdam said that the introduction of artificial light was “one of the most dramatic physical changes human beings have made to our environment”.”

    Arguably, one of the most incredible advances in human history, artificial light, is now being condemned.

    At one point in human history, a single candle was a sign of wealth and privilege. It allowed the beneficiary the luxury of extending his working/leisure/study time beyond daylight hours. Lard, paraffin, then gas and eventually electric light allowed the entire human race to flourish.

    The defining quality of education and wealth was access to artificial light’s cheap abundance, the defining characteristic being it’s reducing cost.

    And what a crime it would be to have our planet eventually engulfed by the sun whilst still well stocked with an abundance of fossil fuel we could have put to good use improving our lives.

    If we limit the use of fossil fuels, we simply slow humanities progress.

  7. NeilC permalink
    November 23, 2017 8:52 pm

    I’m sorry Paul but you have condemmed the poor bugger in North Korea who left that one light on to a dismal future. They will pinpoint him you know./I don’t need this sarc

  8. L. Douglas permalink
    November 23, 2017 11:00 pm

    “A recent study published in the journal Nature revealed that artificial light was a threat to crop pollination – reducing the pollinating activity of nocturnal insects.”

    Well, I haven’t noticed a proliferation of street lights in agricultural areas but, then, I’m no expert. But since experts have said that the bees are already going extinct – or are they already? – any threat to nocturnal pollinators from Global Lighting Change identified by them must be taken very seriously. I mean, this was published in the ‘prestigious’ tabloid Nature, with peer review and everything!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 24, 2017 9:08 am

      That must be why crop yields are falling in developed countries and places like India…oh but wait, that doesn’t sound right?

  9. November 23, 2017 11:42 pm

    The peasants are revolting

    • dave permalink
      November 24, 2017 8:55 am

      I believe that during the fun days of World War 2 there were little jobsworths in both Germany and Britain who went around shouting “Put that light out!” The BBC is back in that business.

      • quaesoveritas permalink
        November 24, 2017 11:06 am

        Hmm, hardly “jobsworths” when there was the risk of being bombed!

      • dave permalink
        November 24, 2017 7:42 pm

        Unfortunately for civilians everywhere, the night bombers flew down radio beams to find their targets, and then dropped flares (“pathfinding”) and incendiaries; later waves found their way easily, because a blazing city can be seen for fifty miles. Hiding in the dark was not really an option, although it may have felt safer.

        Eventually, ‘the blackout’ became more a means of social control than anything else. A million British people were punished by the courts for not toeing the line. However, the government was well aware of the adverse effect on morale, health, and productivity. Especially when government buildings were often the worst offenders!

        Everybody was at risk of being bombed when the enemy was strong. We had an Anderson shelter in the garden, in London. It was a little safer than staying in the house. But I only have a hazy recollection of being in it.

        7,000 ARP personnel died in the UK during WWII, out of 1,500,000 enrolled. They certainly were not all jobsworths. Likewise for Germany, I imagine.

  10. Phoenix44 permalink
    November 24, 2017 9:13 am

    This neatly illustrates the problem with the BBC and the Left in general these days. Everything has to be either bad or good. The concept of trade-offs (the basis of economics) is totally beyond them. Yes, light at night has some bad effects, but it makes life far safer for people in lots of ways (not just crime but also fires and indoor air pollution) and makes people far more productive and makes their lives more enjoyable.

    And how many of the BBC staff involved in making this piece don’t use lights at home or in the office at night? Just patronising hypocrisy of the worst kind.

  11. Athelstan permalink
    November 24, 2017 11:36 am

    The satellite image of NK at night is astonishing, I have seen it before but it never ceases to shock, it’s a quite stunning contrast with the south. I recommend all beebiod wonks to set up telescopes in NK, the visibility is so great. and all those gulags. Does Momentum ‘travel’ sort organized trips?

  12. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 24, 2017 12:02 pm

    Well I do think there are downsides to street lighting and nighttime illumination, as identified by quaesoveritas. I also think there has been precious little research on the subject.
    At the same time I accept that street lighting has huge benefits. I’m not sure that this is a particularly good stick with which to beat the BBC, it has more than enough failings to occupy us.

    • JerryC permalink
      November 24, 2017 4:46 pm

      No, it’s really quite absurd for western academics living in comfortable, well-lit cities to wring their hands about rural Indians getting the same electric lighting that they’ve been taking for granted their entire lives.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        November 25, 2017 10:16 am

        Assuming “No” means you don’t agree, then what you say about academics in the West is true. But it doesn’t alter the fact that street and other night time illumination has an effect on the natural world, any who takes the time to observe the nighttime environment will see and hear it.

  13. November 24, 2017 12:31 pm

    Over the years we have seen the Margaret Mead types wringing their hands over various tribes which aspire to clean water, even water, medicine, fuel and food. These “anthropologists” so admire the noble savage and wish them to remain so.

    Have you ever noticed, however, that these professional bleeders never spend their whole existence leading such lives? No, they take all of their technology toys and run to the tribes for a few months and then return to their electricity, running water and automobiles to write their rubbish.

  14. Rowland H permalink
    November 24, 2017 2:44 pm

    Councils get it wrong by switching off all the street lights. They should simply leave a small number on all night at strategic points along the road, e.g. at junctions and bends. We have some 35 along our road of about 0.75 mile with at least 5 clustered around a mini roundabout. We could manage with 6 yet it seems an impossible task to get the council to take up this fairly simple proposition.

  15. kaykiser permalink
    November 24, 2017 5:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Science is distorted by progressive philosophy.

  16. kaykiser permalink
    November 24, 2017 5:27 pm

    Ah!! Just when you thought environmentalists had run out of non issues to raise alarms about. They want us in the dark, cold, hungry and sick. Even then they won’t be satisfied.

  17. Reasonable Skeptic permalink
    November 24, 2017 5:43 pm

    All those new lights are solar powered of course.

  18. john cooknell permalink
    November 24, 2017 9:54 pm

    I have been to Sierra Leone which does not have light pollution, and not much of anything actually, only crushing poverty, disease, and death. People were very poor, often hungry, and parents carried their dead children up the main street every afternoon. it was hell on earth!

  19. L. Douglas permalink
    November 24, 2017 10:33 pm

    “Over the years we have seen the Margaret Mead types”

    Good analogy since Mead’s research was bogus.

  20. Athelstan permalink
    November 24, 2017 10:53 pm

    If you have no sense of humour, better not go here it might cause offence an worse heart palpitations and failure.

    The BBC is recognised by audiences in the UK and around the world as a provider of news that you can trust. Our website, like our TV and radio services, strives for journalism that is accurate, impartial, independent and fair.

    stop giggling class!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: