The Bulb Ban

Paul Hsieh wrote an especially good (if depressing) post December 19 titled, “Outlawing the Traditional Incandescent Light Bulb.” He quotes four news articles and offers his own comments:

The new energy bill (passed by Congress and just signed into law by President Bush) will outlaw the traditional incandescent light bulbs over the next several years, requiring instead more expensive “energy efficient” bulbs as part of the fight against global warming. Of course, if these new bulbs are more cost-effective in the long run, then there’s no need to mandate their use. And if they aren’t, then this is just another burden on consumers. Either way, it’s a violation of the individual rights of producers and consumers of those products.

This is on top of the recent shameful capitulation by the US on global warming policy at the recent international Bali conference, in which the US gave into the demands of the rest of the world.

Those who think that the Republicans and/or the religious conservatives will provide any kind of principled defense against the anti-reason and anti-human views of the environmentalists are in for a rude awakening. …

Although I’m sure it’s unintentional, I find it ironic that the environmentalists and the evangelicals are teaming up to extinguish Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb, the long-time symbol of reason and thought.

By the way, I have purchased the energy-efficient bulbs for my house. Costco sells them for a reasonable price, and I believe that they cost me a little less to operate. But the idea of the federal government dictating to us what sort of light bulbs we may buy is ridiculous and offensive. If the federal government can force us to buy the bulbs that politicians decide are good for us, then there is, in principle, hardly anything that the federal government cannot force us to do.

2 thoughts on “The Bulb Ban”

  1. A parenthetical comment about those new light bulbs. We bought a few of them too. Those bulbs save on monthly bills, and are also supposed ot last longer. I haven’t found the latter to be true. They seem to burn out just like regular bulbs. I haven’t kept records, so they might last a little longer; but, definitely nowhere near the 7-years that are typically advertised on them. Since their life-span is a significant part of the cost-benefit calculation, I’m not sure they’ve saved me money. Perhaps the 7-year claim is based on some type of laboratory condition that does not reflect the fluctuations of power in my area, or my usage of the bulbs.

    Some negatives of these new bulbs:
    – one does not get them in smaller-thread sizes. This rules out many fixtures in our home
    – they have a larger than normal circumference above the threads, when compared to incandescent bulbs that have an identical thread-circumference; so, they do not fit into certain fixtures. In our home, this means they do not fit into some of our fan-light fixtures, nor can they fit into some torcherie-style lamps
    – they cannot be used on dimmers. Our basement has a whole array of recessed lights, ideally a great place to save by using low-cost illumination; but, half of them are on a dimmer, so these new bulbs cannot be used
    – they take a while to light up to full capcacity, so even in the recessed-light array where I use them, I’ve had to retain a few regular floodlights, so that we get enough light during the first 10 minutes. I’m fine with paying a little more for that convenience

    I’ve seen some articles about LED fixtures, that I think can be made to look real cool… and can be morphed into all sorts of styles; but, I haven’t seen them in the stores yet. Perhaps they’re still too expensive.

    Ofcourse, if the thesis of “The Bottomless Well” then we will see the apparent paradox that more energy efficient devices will cause us to use more total energy per capita in the long run.

  2. Ari,

    I heard, over one holiday dinner, they they have a huge mercury content due to the gas inside; and if you break one in a room there is a large chance that the room will then fail the EPA’s environmental guidelines for mercury.


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