GOP goes “Back to the Past” with Light Bulbs

The lowest-of-the-low-hanging-fruit in energy savings is replacing the horrifically wasteful incandescent light bulbs in this nation. Unfortunately our Republican congressional participants see the incandescent light bulb as somehow “taking away choice” from consumers. 

Really? I know that joking about Republicans anti-science stance is fodder for comedians, but this is the simplest means we have to radically reduce energy consumption in our nation so why are they pushing-back on this initiative? It is a lot harder to fund nuclear plants, changeover our electrical grid to a “smart” one, and shift away from liquid fuels to U.S. abundant natural gas, so I just don’t get why the GOP insists on fighting the phasing out of incandescent bulbs the Republican president (GWBush) signed in to law.

What is the GOP’s agenda here? It can’t just be anti-energy. Nor does it make sense that this is all about being anti-global warming. Or it couldn’t just be about continuing to burn fossil fuels at all costs, including war and Imperialism, can it? Lord knows it’s not about helping out the 99% with their household budgets.

Perhaps this is pre-election, political theater and the GOP knows it. According to many reports, like this one from ABCNews, “Congress Defunds Ban on Incandescent Light Bulbs but Doesn’t Quite Save Them“:

“But what many Republicans are celebrating as a win for individuals’ light-bulb-choosing freedom will probably not save the energy-guzzling bulbs from disappearing off store shelves.

“The industry has moved on,” said Larry Lauck, a spokesman for the American Lighting Association.

Lauck said U.S. light bulb manufacturers have already “retooled” their production lines to build more efficient bulbs, he said.”

Ms. Political Theater herself, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, has famously harped on it by saying, ““The American people want less government intrusion into their lives, not more, and that includes staying out of their personal light bulb choices.”  Bachmann, who, as a member of the House, introduced a bill to roll back the incandescent ban. Of course, she did so without acknowledgement of her anti-stance on a woman’s right to choose something a lot more important than an energy wasting light bulb.

The U.S. Dept of Energy clearly spells out the energy savings if we get off incandescent bulbs. It’s such a no-brainer that even the political theater aspect can’t be all there is to an “official” Republican effort to stop it.

Or maybe they’re just old and want to go back to the past.

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  1. Steve Borsch on December 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for the comment. The “anti-science” part was a tiny fraction of my overall point, but I understand where you’re coming from though.

    You are absolutely right about the compact fluorescent bulbs. They contain mercury and require special handling and disposal. But those are definitely a *temporary* solution as manufacturers focus on LED lighting.

    As someone who has followed the evolution of LED lighting, I can tell you that costs are coming down dramatically. The “warmness” of LED lighting is quickly becoming indistinguishable from incandescents (due to coating breakthroughs that mute the “blueness” of the LED light). With Philips, GE, Sylvania and other major lighting companies — as well as dozens of startups in the space — driving forward quickly on LED lighting, we will see maybe not bulb cost parity with incandescents, but certainly an overall cost (i.e., bulb cost; energy use cost) being in the sweet spot for consumers within 24 months.

    As far as “labels” and public discourse being not helpful, I’ve been blogging since 2004 and have written well over 2,000 posts on this blog and others I participate in. As such, I’ve been more aware of the devolution of public discourse than most people since when I write a post, I have to examine both sides in order to justify my position. I can tell you with certainty that the vitriol and “high school taunting” really accelerated when the Republicans began an all out attack on the Obama administration for anything they did or said (or so it seems!).

    As one of many cases in point that is energy related, remember how Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, was absolutely ridiculed by conservative Republicans over his “public discourse” about making roofs white to reflect (rather than absorb) solar energy? Conservatives called him a “tinfoil hat, global warming alarmist” and much worse.

    Turns out once Walmart, GE and even the Wall Street Journal came out in favor of the cost savings (but, of course, not global warming) and businesses across the country began changing their black roofs to white — and experiencing enormous heating and cooling savings — we no longer heard a peep.

    THAT is one of HUNDREDS of cases I could cite. ‘Nuff said.

    Thanks for commenting Colleen. ~Steve

  2. Walter Paul Bebirian on December 18, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Perhaps the pause in enforcing a change will leave some room for further developments that will bring about newer and more advanced inventions –

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.