Decisions we don’t need your help with
Posted by Jeff Id on July 10, 2011
One of the several ignorant things that president Bush did was sign a law banning incandescent lights. Yes it came from a liberal House and Senate but he did sign it. It looks like the House will send a repeal of it up for vote shortly but it won’t likely get past our anti-economic growth president. In the past, I’ve made the point that incandescent bulbs are wonderfully efficient distributed heaters. Lubos Motl also made the point, humorously referring to them as heatballs which happen to produce some light to indicate they are working. Of course, plenty of others have made this point as well.
As an engineer, these concepts are very familiar. The problem is that ‘all of the above‘ greens saw an incandescent lamp’s efficiency of under 5% energy conversion to visible light and decided that we could save the world incrementally with one step being the banning of the incandescent light.
First, even if you accept IPCC CO2 global warming sensitivity values, I flatly deny that the microscopic improvement in CO2 savings by the ban is worth consideration. Even replacing all the incandescent lights in the world with CFL tomorrow won’t make a detectable difference in atmospheric CO2. Shutting off all the lights might, but even most hardcore greens usually would not support that.
Unfortunately, the recognition by non-thinkers of the truly crappy first order efficiency of the incandescent lamp, is giving the heatballs a bad rap. It is the anti-progress, self-titled progressives though, which took that misunderstanding to the next level to declare the incandescent light bulb — illegal. Make no mistake, despite the EPA lies on the subject, this decision adds cost. CFL or LED lamps will not save one penny for a large number of us in the US. What’s worse, it will save immeasurably little CO2 emission globally and it will directly eliminate jobs while (of course) adding to the Federal government. On simplistic terms, all economic loads over and above the lowest cost options already in use, take jobs and limit personal wealth and economic growth. I wish more people got that.
Still, there are plenty of applications where CFL and even LED make sense, but as America has repeatedly proven to the ever-deaf left, the market is astoundingly capable of making those decisions. Sure idiots will get the choice wrong sometimes, but as history has repeatedly shown, the bulk of the population will balance cost/efficiency in the right direction.
In the northern climates, a low light-efficiency bulb is almost perfectly 100% heat efficient. They are better than your furnace for warming your room because there is no chimney. People tell me I’m crazy for not turning off lamps in the winter. I’m going green though folks, my furnace uses fossil fuel, the electric here is mostly nuclear. Leaving my incandescent light on warms the room more, runs the furnace less and saves CO2 emissions!
Of course in the summer, we do run the crap out of our central heat pump so when we put 100 watts into the room, we have to then pump that 100 watts out – ouch. But then you just need to have enough brains to flip the switch – or use more CFL in the summer if you are bothered by your energy consumption. While the average public doesn’t think deeply about such things, my guess is that even the most cynical would state that the normal population understands to flip the switch when the electric bill is too high.
Again though, I’m spending my money this summer for electric at my option, and it is primarily Uranium that we burn, it is my choice how much to spend and where to apply the energy we bought, not yours. Trust us, we will figure out what is best and if you push us the wrong way too hard, we will simply light/heat our houses by whatever means we find convenient.
Of course one of the main additional problems we face from green idealism is that we’re not allowed to build new power plants despite rising energy consumption. How stupid are we when we allow morons to stop us from producing the power we need to feed ourselves? The greens understand and approve that this will drive prices up and repress the economy further. This argument is also false but that is for another day.
My point is again that these draconian across the board decisions are not what people need from government. They don’t help us in any way to survive better, live longer, be healthier or serve any beneficial purpose for the governed masses whatsoever.
If it is so bad Jeff, why did people do it?
It is no coincidence that this stupidity does provide massive benefit to the overreaching political power-mongers fed money from a few of the massive ‘GE style’ corporations. The same corporations which have the most to benefit by providing a higher dollar CFL/LED product demanded by legislative fiat of the subjugated populations. Why is it that the big-industry hating progressives miss that point so often?
In the meantime, the ban on incandescent lighting won’t end the world, but it is absolutely one more brick in that anti-prosperity wall – right when we don’t need it.
Not that we ever will.