Daylight saving time is winding down in Europe — likely forever.
On Sunday, countries across the continent will move back an hour as mandated by the European Union in a directive from 2002. As ABC.net.au reported, the European Council could be bringing an end to that practice, recommending that all EU member states stop changing their clocks in the spring — and that the practice be halted indefinitely.
As the report noted, the EU issued a public consultation asking whether residents would prefer the practice be abolished, and whether those surveyed would rather have “permanent summertime” or “permanent standard time.” More respondents opted for a “permanent summertime.”
As the report noted, synchronizing the clocks in Europe could help to clear up time disparities across the continent.
“Currently there are three time zones in the EU: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is used by the U.K., Ireland and Portugal; Central Europe Time (CET), which 17 EU member states use and is an hour ahead of GMT; and Eastern European time, which is used in eight states and is two hours ahead of GMT… There has been conjecture over the benefits and drawbacks of daylight saving time, with those in favour arguing that having synchronized clocks across the EU saves energy and allows the single market to function better.”
There is also a budding movement in the United States to get rid of daylight saving time, which was originally created during World War I to conserve energy usage. A number of activists have called for it to be scrapped for various reasons — including the safety of people suddenly driving in the dark at an hour during which they were used to seeing fading sunlight.
In a 2012 survey from Rasmussen Reports, 40 percent of Americans believe that daylight saving time is useless today. One of the groups calling for it to be abolished, Standardtime.com, notes that common claims that the practice saves energy has never been proven.
In fact, some research has shown the opposite. As Business Insider noted, researchers in Indiana found that people used less electricity for light as the clocks changed, but said energy savings were wiped out when more people used air conditioning during the early evening hours when the sun was still up. Otherwise, had daylight saving time not been conducted, the sun would have been hung much lower in the sky.
It’s not clear yet which European nations will decide to scrap daylight saving time. As the Express noted, it will now be up to individual member states to decide whether they will keep it or not.