Dim: Congress drafts rules to phase out incandescent bulbs

posted at 9:14 pm on May 6, 2007 by see-dubya

People complain about social conservatives needing to stay out of their bedrooms. But globwarming greens are fooling around in every damned room in my house. First of all it was the 1.6 gallon Al Gore toilet (last item), introduced by Federal compulsion, which accomplished in two or three flushes what the ol’ three-gallon Bemis could do in one. And even if Sheryl Crow says she was joking about the infamous “one square” advice, the family of rich green wackos in Manhattan wasn’t joking about not using any TP for a year.

And now, it’s light bulbs.

I hate fluorescent lights. They make everything look skeevy and bloodless and washed out. I can’t avoid them at work, but I like to read and live by halogens and incandescents at home. it’s a luxury, I know, but a surprisingly affordable one–especially since they’re cheaper than the fluorescent bulbs. Where I can get away with fluorescent bulbs to save energy, I do. The market sees to that.

But now the Democratic congress is going to try to mandate fluorescent bulbs everywhere. (Link requires subscription.) I guess the Obamessiah family’s ongoing light switchover that Mark Steyn wrote about is just too slow, and so Congress had to do something.

Thing is, almost every business I have entered in the last decade or so has already switched over to fluorescent lights wherever they can. It’s the standard in warehouses, factories, and cubicle farms across the country. When was the last time you saw an office lit by a table lamp? No, this one is aimed at the home consumer, who can’t be trusted to light his house in a pretty way.

Whatever rule is proposed by the groups would likely be incorporated into energy legislation passed last week by the Senate Energy Committee that the full chamber is set to debate by the end of the month, committee aides say. This bill, the Democrats’ first major energy initiative since taking control of Congress in January, calls for new efficiency standards for appliances and motor vehicles and mandates the use of more alternative fuels, such as ethanol, by 2022.

While the move could face resistance from some consumer groups and from low- and fixed-income constituencies, Energy Committee aides say there is bipartisan support in Congress for a new lighting standard.

I’m not certain why the market won’t take care of this. It couldn’t be that someone is making a profit, could it?

Manufacturers expect over the next decade to provide consumers with other choices as well, since CFLs don’t work as well in applications such as reading lamps.

“It’s the right thing to do,” says Randall B. Moorhead, vice president for the North American affiliate of Royal Phillips Electronics NV of the Netherlands. “But we’re also hoping we’ll make some money. It’s not entirely altruistic.”

No? Knock me over with a feather.

BUMPED: You guys in the comments are awesome. I like the term “Gore-bulbs” and the suggestion we use Coleman lanterns instead.

I’m bumping this because I hope it will be discussed more in the upcoming campaign. For all the perceived busybodiness (is that a word?) of the Christian right, there is an even more overwhelming busybodiness practiced by the Greenie Left who claim jurisdiction over any activity of your life that affects the environment. It is a rights issue. As commenter Buzzy observed:

It has little to do with CFLs and much more to do with individual freedoms. When government tells me what bulbs I can use to light my house I draw the line and resume stocking the bunker.

It’s one thing to convince me that CFLs are a better choice for intelligent energy consumption and quite another to take my choices away by government decree.

It is a rights issue, and this is just the first step. Here’s where it’s going, under Euro/Blairite IngSoc:

Pressed to meet European Union targets for reducing landfill volume, many local councils now collect refuse only once every two weeks. As flies and vermin gather while food scraps achieve a fine perfume, residents have grown so enraged that bin-men are under repeated physical attack.

The logic of fortnightly collections — if you can follow it — is to encourage recycling. Lest widespread consternation over garbage seem petty, fortnightly collections now emblemize a broader source of indignation: the U.K. government’s self-righteous “green” justifications for reduced services on the one hand, and thievery on the other.

Halving the frequency of waste removal conveniently saves money. A host of other new “green” measures in the U.K. will make money: $200 fines for poorly separated recycling, or microchips implanted in wheelie bins to weigh residential refuse — dragging Britain’s surveillance culture to a new low, and facilitating charges for waste disposal by the kilo. Furious that they are already paying once for this service through local taxes, some householders have ripped the microchips from their bins.

….

Environmentalism has become the fashionable fig leaf to cover for extortion. If a tax is “green” it is “for the sake of the planet,” and fairness doesn’t come into it. Neither, apparently, does greed. Hence Britain’s petrol duty — the fourth highest in the world at over $4 a gallon plus 17.5% VAT levied on both the fuel and the duty ( in the U.K., even taxes are taxed) — has nothing to do with sticky fingers; it’s to confront the all-purpose bogeyman of global warming.

That’s Lionel Shriver in the Wall Street Journal; the piece is still behind the subscription wall but I hope it pops out on opinionjournal pretty soon. People with libertarian instincts need to hear this–even if social conservatives might want to stop drugs, gay marriage, and abortion, the pseudo-religious zeal of the globwarmers knows no bounds and their coercive agenda is targeted at things that everybody does and uses: cars, light bulbs, garbage pickup. And, as I said above, toilets.

Meanwhile, the people who do this live in energy-guzzling mansions, travelling on private jets, perhaps salving their conscience with expensive carbon offsets, while they figure out what kind of light bulb you will be able to buy.

Now that is an inconvenient truth.


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Ah, my plan to corner the global incandescents black market is proceeding nicely…

mojo on May 7, 2007 at 10:01 AM

Ah well, the technology of Light Emitting Diodes is moving so fast that in the very near future all this argument about Fluorescents will be moot in a couple of years.
LegendHasIt on May 6, 2007 at 10:21 PM

I’m investing in LED technology and curry combs. Cover all the bases.

PattyAnn on May 7, 2007 at 10:07 AM

When it comes to important subjects like down-sizing govmint or privitizing soc. sec. or the income tax, the pols are nowhere. But when it comes to stupid crap like flushing toilets and light bulbs they’re front and center with inanities. I see that Chuckie “the schmuck” Schumer wants to investigate “big oil” AGAIN over prices. How many times is this? The same old demagoguery. Sometimes I wish there was a voter intelligence prerequisite before being allowed to vote. Maybe that way we’d get the government that we deserve. Or is that what we have now?

Jeff on May 7, 2007 at 10:25 AM

SilverStar830
I have the the same problem, I can see and hear the flourescent liughts and CRT flicker. Drives me mad. I have the lights in my office turned off even.

I wonder what we will do at Christmas time, since we can not use incadescent bulbs.

Will their be a waiver for movie projectors? How about emergency signes? Street lights? Headlights and other safety lights for vehicles?

Wyrd on May 7, 2007 at 10:54 AM

Ok, now . . . we need to draft rules for phasing out the Democratic congress.

rplat on May 7, 2007 at 11:22 AM

As a migraneur / epileptic / gun owner, I’ll say this: they can take the incandescents when they take my guns. You know… cold, dead, seizing hands, all that.

When I have a migraine I can’t be anywhere near a flourescent bulb. Wearing sunglasses inside helps a little, but then I start to see the flicker, and the strobe effect tends to set off seizures.

Loads of fun, fluorescents. When I worked outside the home, my bosses were always asking why I never turned on the lights over my desk, or why I sometimes turned off the lights in my office. The pain. Too much. So yeah. If they pass this inane law, expect me to have a secret stash.

sarahk on May 7, 2007 at 11:37 AM

This is a myth. The amount of mercury in a light bulb is not sufficient to be considered hazardous waste.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp

lorien1973 on May 6, 2007 at 12:48 PM

O RLY?

http://www.kxmb.com/getARticle.asp?ArticleId=118982

Bad Candy on May 7, 2007 at 11:39 AM

The socialists ALWAYS want you to think they are doing things for “the people”. But the socialists ALWAYS do things that give them power or make them rich, the very thing they constantly complain capitalists do. Here’s the money line:

And guess where the extra purchase prices for these CFLs will wind up? In the pockets of Chinese manufacturers, because not a single CFL is produced in the US.”

Do we know any Senators with deep ties to Chinese business?

I’m with many others on this one. Working under flourescent lights, especially if I’m at a computer desk, can trigger a migrained at any time if I’m not careful. Isn’t of the major benefits of a free society that one can choose a luxury or a comfort? In the conservationist scheme of things, this is overlooking dollars to hunt for pennies.

Freelancer on May 7, 2007 at 11:58 AM

Now, how would one illuminate the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per household to possess an incandescant bulb. The population would then be given three months to turn in their incandescants, without penalty.

Maybe Dan Simpson will write up a new proposal…?!!

4shoes on May 7, 2007 at 12:44 PM

Screw them.Pay a bit more and get bulbs that are much more energy efficent then crappy flouescents and are pure white, usful for reading and will last longer then you may live.

LED Bulbs.

opusrex on May 7, 2007 at 1:06 PM

It’s technically based on total usage so if there is a light that you leave on 24 hrs a day 365 days a year, it won’t last 5-10 years, but pretty much every CFL comes with a guarantee that it last for a certain length of time, and if not, it can be replaced.
truthmattersfa on May 7, 2007 at 9:32 AM

That sounds wonderful, but the reality is, my bulbs are not on 24/7. They are in normal usage. They are not making anywhere near the distance of the “glowing” reports.
And think about that comment, “pretty much every CFL comes with a guarentee that it lasts for a certain length of time, and if not it can be replaced.”
1) What kind of satisfaction am I going to get trying to get the store to honor that promise? How many resources are going to go into the multiple trips and paperwork of the bureaucratic nightmare of company X haggling with me about a free replacement bulb? I do know a few curmugeons who would get their “free” bulb in the end, but they have all day long to devote to that sport.
2) Environmentally, there’s one more heavily inputted CFL in the trash, two bulbs doing what one should have done … if we are serious about “the planet” then we have to consider that wastage from CFLs is going to be collossal.
300 million people in the USA – and there sure are more than 1 lightbulb per person. CFLs do wear out and they’re gonna take up a lot more space than simple ol’ incandescents.
CFLs have their uses, but “magic lighting bullet” they aren’t. This is Soviet-style micromanagement of the society.

naliaka on May 7, 2007 at 1:34 PM

Screw them.Pay a bit more and get bulbs that are much more energy efficent then crappy flouescents and are pure white, usful for reading and will last longer then you may live.
LED Bulbs.
opusrex on May 7, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Oooh! But, first, what’s their Achilles Heel?

naliaka on May 7, 2007 at 1:37 PM

Environmentally, there’s one more heavily inputted CFL in the trash, two bulbs doing what one should have done … if we are serious about “the planet” then we have to consider that wastage from CFLs is going to be collossal.

Two bulbs, two flushes…I see a pattern developing with green fixes.

see-dubya on May 7, 2007 at 1:44 PM

“That sounds wonderful, but the reality is, my bulbs are not on 24/7. They are in normal usage. They are not making anywhere near the distance of the “glowing” reports.”

How long are they lasting??? 2-3 years?

And think about that comment, “pretty much every CFL comes with a guarentee that it lasts for a certain length of time, and if not it can be replaced.”

The reason I said “pretty much” is because some dollar stores sell CFL’s and if you buy one of those, there is not guarantee. But almost any CFL from a reputable store has a guarantee printed on the box.

“1) What kind of satisfaction am I going to get trying to get the store to honor that promise? How many resources are going to go into the multiple trips and paperwork of the bureaucratic nightmare of company X haggling with me about a free replacement bulb?”

You don’t deal with the store on returning it. You mail it back to the company who manufactured it and they replace it. You can see an example of one here

“Environmentally, there’s one more heavily inputted CFL in the trash, two bulbs doing what one should have done … if we are serious about “the planet” then we have to consider that wastage from CFLs is going to be collossal.”

You’re wrong on that as well. You and others are comparing 1 CFL to 1 incandescent. Yes, a CFL takes up more room in the trash. However, 1 CFL lasts 3-5 years and over that time you use 3-5 incandescent bulbs. So you really have to compare the total amount of trash over that time period. Over 3 years, 1 CFL vs 3-5 regular incandescent bulbs. Which is larger and makes up “more trash”????

truthmattersfa on May 7, 2007 at 6:37 PM

You don’t deal with the store on returning it. You mail it back to the company who manufactured it and they replace it. You can see an example of one here

truthmattersfa on May 7, 2007 at 6:37 PM

We are talking about conserving energy, resources, etc. The “mail” is a bunch of trucks and airplanes driving back and forth all over the country. I got a dead bulb in the mail and a live bulb coming back. Even that act uses energy and resources – and inefficiently at that. Now multiply that activity by 500,000 customers.
We can’t just look at one little aspect. The whole thing is what’s important. What does a billion bulbs mean in manufacturing, packaging, transport and disposal? Where’re the resources going to come from for all the additional components these jazzed up bulbs require? They consume more just to make them – compare the amount of glass alone between the two types of bulbs.
Maybe, in the end it does work, but not a single study or report has set out the real cost of these CFLs and the real difference in the aggregate with incandescents.
Maybe Popular Mechanics will find it in their hearts to do the detective work that is needed.

naliaka on May 7, 2007 at 11:12 PM

I feel sooooo much better now.

Metro on May 7, 2007 at 11:13 PM

All I know is that this is going to ruin the cartoon trade. How are they going to show a great idea and not use a light bulb over the head?

If you think CFL is a solution, watch what happens when we try to take care of all of the hybrid batteries that we have to dispose of.

Does anyone know how much more energy is needed to produce a CFL? How much more mercury, how much more glass? My light bulbs already last 3-5 years, just turn them off when you leave the room.

In the past 3 years (moved into a new home)I have replaced 3 standard light bulbs out of the 70+ lights in my house. And have replace 2 fluorescent out of 10.

right2bright on May 8, 2007 at 10:45 AM

I refuse to use one of those headache-inducing Squirrelly Al bulbs.

Not gonna do it. No way. I’ll use whale oil lamps first.

Claire on May 8, 2007 at 7:52 PM

Let’s light this candle, Heroshi….

soulsirkus on May 9, 2007 at 4:37 PM

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