Banning Incandescents: What Could Go Wrong?

by Brian McGraw on September 19, 2011

in Blog

Post image for Banning Incandescents: What Could Go Wrong?

Via JunkScience.

China has tightened its grip on rare earth metals which has sent the price of compact fluorescent light bulbs through the roof, up 37% this year:

But with light bulbs, especially, the timing of the latest price increases is politically awkward for the lighting industry and for environmentalists who backed a shift to energy-efficient lighting.

In January, legislation that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2007 will begin phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs in favor of spiral compact fluorescent bulbs and other technologies. The European Union has also mandated a switch from incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient lighting.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is running for the Republican presidential nomination on a platform that includes strong opposition to the new lighting rules in the United States and has been a leader of efforts by House Republicans to repeal it.

The prices are not likely to go down anytime soon, as efforts to diversify the global supply of rare earth metals will not be completed overnight. In the meantime, can we revisit the cost-savings calculations (predicting net savings for non-incandescent bulbs) that were predicated upon lower prices for compact florescent bulbs (as well as optimistic projections of how long the bulbs last)? It will be interesting to see what happens to the price of CFLs when incandescent bulbs are no longer for sale.

This issue has fallen out of the news, but it seems that even some on the left are questioning this move by the government, even daring to suggest that Michele Bachmann might have been right.



Maggie D September 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm

More than anything, I wonder, how these GREEN clowns are responding to the toxic pollution compact fluorescent bulbs are causing. Reading the warning labels, one has to question if the folks pushing these light bulbs are in their right mind.
But then again, so many things forced upon the citizenry come from a “feel good” mentality which only looks at the moment, never at long range consequences.
Unfortunately this simple mindedness is not only found on one side of the isle, plenty of idiots on the GOP side, too.

Kerry September 28, 2011 at 7:31 am

One has to wonder if GE and China had a ‘little chat’, because their tightening of rare earth exports will not bring the price of CFL’s down. And we are expected to believe the Chinese did this “…to address pollution problems”? Or does “…circumvent(-ing) international trade rules that are supposed to prohibit export restrictions of vital materials”translate into Mandarin as “Oh yes we can”?

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