EU to Consider Time-out on Switching Clocks Back and Forth

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February 12, 2018

The EU is serious about time—Daylight-saving Time, that is.

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to commission a review into whether turning clocks back and forward one hour each year is still worth the hassle that many people and businesses find it. The decades-old practice of turning clocks back in the autumn and forward in the spring dates to the early 20th Century, when it was thought prudent to maximize daylight hours and to minimize electricity consumption. Subsequent reviews have changed dates on which clocks go backward or forward, and some critics of the practice have become more vocal in recent years. In recent weeks, a petition to reconsider the practice in Finland gathered 70,000 signatures. That country's parliament asked the EU to reconsider the clocks change, as did the government of Lithuania. The EU has heard similar proposals in recent years.

Since the advent of extremely heavy electricity usage, the changing of clocks by an hour hasn't made much difference to that usage, charge many in the industry. Many health experts also say that the sudden changing of the clock by an entire hour can have significant negative effects on the health and well-being of not only people but also animals. Experts say that seasonal affective disorder is more pronounced after a time switch.

The latest EU resolution is nonbinding, but it is the first time in recent years that the European Parliament has, as a body, recommended such a study.

Similar discussions have taken place in recent years in the U.S., where two states, Arizona and Hawaii, do not make use of Daylight-saving Time. In late 2017, Maine and Massachusetts both considered a switch from the Eastern Time Zone to Atlantic Time Zone, ostensibly to avoid Daylight-saving Time. Such a change requires a ruling from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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