As countries including the US, Canada and Cuba prepare to set clocks back an hour as daylight saving time ends on Nov. 5, debate is once again emerging in the US over whether and how to end this practice.
WHAT IS DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME?
Daylight saving time is the practice of moving clocks forward by one hour during the summer months so daylight lasts longer into the evening. Most of North America and Europe follows the custom, while the majority of countries elsewhere, especially those close to the equator, do not.
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
The practice has been controversial from the outset, with many countries having adopted and rejected it multiple times. Egypt announced in March that it would reintroduce daylight saving time after a seven-year gap to rationalize energy use. Japan considered adopting the practice for the 2020 Olympics but rejected the proposal due to lack of popular support and technical challenges. Daylight saving time was implemented in Taiwan after World War II in the summer of 1946 to1961, 1974, 1975 and 1979.
WHEN DOES DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME END IN 2023?
Daylight saving time in the US and some neighboring countries ended on Nov. 5 at 2am local time, pushing clocks back an hour.
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
In the UK and other European countries, daylight saving time, also known as summer time, ended on Oct. 29.
Daylight saving time always starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November for the US. This contrasts with the UK and European Union, where summer time begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
WHY WAS DAYLIGHT SAVING CREATED IN THE US AND HOW DID IT START?
Photo: EPA-EFE 照片：歐新社
The modern idea of changing the clocks with the seasons can be traced back to at least the late 19th century, when New Zealand entomologist George Hudson proposed it to conserve energy and extend summer daylight hours, something which would have benefited his hobby of collecting insects after work. The idea was slow to gain traction until World War I, when European states sought any strategies to conserve fuel. Germany was the first country to adopt daylight saving time in 1916 and the US followed in 1918.
The practice went through many variations before the US standardized it in 1966 in the Uniform Time Act, which allows states to opt out of it but not to stay on daylight saving time permanently. A common myth is that the US adopted daylight saving time to benefit farmers, but in reality many farmers are opposed to the practice for being disruptive to their schedules. The original motivation of conserving fuel is also under debate, as studies have found little, if any, energy savings from the shift, according to the Congressional Research Service. Opponents point to other studies that have found adverse health effects linked to daylight saving time, such as a spike in fatal traffic accidents, heart attacks, strokes and sleep deprivation in the days after clocks are moved forward an hour every March.
A March 2023 YouGov poll found that 62 percent of Americans want to end the practice of changing clocks, though only 50 percent preferred to keep permanent daylight saving time.
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