A change.org petition from The Association of Lighting Designers has been doing the rounds, that theatre designers may be familiar with, which highlights the affects of the EU Energy Directorate on stage lighting.
The opposition to theatres being included in this energy saving plan comes from the costs of replacing lights, particularly in older and bigger theatres, as well as the quality of lighting that comes from tungesten light sources.
The arguments in full can be read here https://www.change.org/p/the-eu-energy-directorate-keep-stage-lighting-exempt-from-proposed-legislation-changes , but a key issue is the cost of replacing entire lighting infrastructures which can ruin theatres financially, as well as the fact that lights account for 5% of theatre energy consumption.
More broadly speaking, this is actually another attack on people for consuming energy rather than looking at the major sources of pollution. The Association of Lighting Designers are correct to point out the devastating affect this new legislation can have, but rather than excluding just theatres, this legislation is fundamentally incorrect in its approach to conserving energy and reducing CO2 emmissions.
The Corban Majors Report states that just 100 companies are responsible for 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas since 1988, and that more than half of global industrial emissions since then come from just 25 private and state owned entities.
Due to the threat of climate change, there is increased pressure on governments globally to be seen to combat it. Unfortunately, this manifests as an attack on the individual for not recycling, for not using energy efficient bulbs, for driving instead of using public transport etc. Of course, all of these things should be encouraged and need to be made a feesible option for people. The privitisation of bin collection and charging of recycling bins doesn’t make recycling easier for anyone – nor does problematic bus routes, increasing bus fares in Dublin.
Enda Kenny, in 2015, stated that climate change was not a priority for Ireland and since then it has become clear that Ireland will not meet its targets for 2020.
The Paris agreement of 2015 was not legally binding and did not penalise countries that failed to meet their targets. When Trump pulled the US out of this agreement it was to show that his politics are aligned with those profiting from energies such as oil, but, importantly, we can see from the lack of penalties in the agreement that it acts as a cover for the other world leaders who try to not be as blatantly pro-capitalist as Trump is.
In this context, it is futile to introduce legislation that affects theatres in the way that the EU Eco-Design Plan does. Given the lack of arts funding that exists anyway, it further shows how little the capitalist class care about culture that fails to produce mass profits.
Th petition itself is still important, but the issue needs to be taken up more broadly and respond to it with demands for measures cracking down on large corporations and for increased arts funding.