City of Light turns off lights

France adopts new ordinance to limit artificial light at night

In July, the country of France put into effect an ordinance designed to curb light pollution and CO2 emissions, as well as reduce energy consumption.

The city of Paris—known as the City of Light—is among the many French cities now required to keep shop lights off from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., turn off office-building lights within an hour after employees leave, and not turn on building-façade lights until sunset, according to Yale Environment 360. Restrictions on billboard lighting will go into effect over the next two years.

Besides reducing France’s CO2 emissions by 250,000 tons annually, and cutting the country’s annual energy use by the equivalent of 750,000 households’ worth, the pioneering move is also intended to “reduce the print of artificial lighting on the nocturnal environment,” according to France’s Environment Ministry. Worldwide, nighttime light pollution is responsible for the disruption of the ages-old patterns of nocturnal creatures, including leatherback-turtle hatchlings that doom themselves by heading toward streetlights instead of following moon- and starlight to the ocean.