Climate Change

Incandescent Illumination Illegal in Icy North

|

Yesterday the Canadian government announced a ban on old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs, with a freeze on sales effective in 2012.

As suspected, this is just the tip of the iceberg:

"This is more than just about light bulbs," [Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn] said. "The light bulb is only the gateway to broad public engagement on energy efficiency and action on climate change."

But the plan, which is part of Canada's non-Kyoto initiative to combat climate change, got an frigid reception from some environmentalists:

"I see it as an end-run around the United Nations system," Beatrice Olivastri of Friends of the Earth Canada said. "Anything that is a U.S.-related program is clearly outside of Kyoto, so that to me is very worrisome."…"It's putting a Band-Aid on cancer."

For more chilling news on the coming black market in incandescent bulbs, go here.

NEXT: Why Nothing Fails Like Success

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Anything that is a U.S. program is clearly meant to destroy the planet, because all evil lives here. Am I reading that correctly?

  2. This would make Uncle Fester an abuser of illicit bulbs.

  3. “Anything that is a U.S.-related program is clearly outside of Kyoto, so that to me is very worrisome”

    Oh for Pete’s sake! Grow up already.

  4. retarded. I just went out and bought a few of those CFL’s. They’re awful. I had high hopes to reduce my utility bill, but I can’t stand the light they put out. I even tried different brands. I think the funniest part of Canada banning regular light bulbs is porch and garage lights. I’m in MN and when it goes subzero or even just down to the single digits, flourescents don’t work. Now I haven’t tried a a CFL, but the one’s in my garage never turn on. I have to use a regular bulb if I want to see. I look forward to 2012 when people start bitching that nothing works in the cold.

  5. They’d make more progress if they simply banned electricity.

  6. Proposed advertising slogans for the new policy:

    Change a light bulb, change the world!

    How many light bulbs does it take to save the planet?

  7. If I lived in Canada I’d lay in a lifetime supply of incandescents right now. Actually, given how things are going I’m tempted to do that anyway.

    Fluorescent bulbs are hideous. They don’t conserve energy; they merely suck it out of the hapless individuals on whom they shine.

  8. So I guess Canadians will start coming south to buy incandescent light bulbs to smuggle back home, and Americans will continue going north to buy reasonably-priced toilets that work on the first flush, and smuggling *them* back home.

  9. I look forward to 2012 when people start bitching that nothing works in the cold

    montaigne,

    Get with the times, man! By 2012 winters in Minnesota will be a balmy 65 F. You’ll be wearing shorts and hitting the beaches. Don’t you watch the news?

  10. Jennifer,

    That’s a brilliant idea–light bulbs powered by human heat. Yes, with this new technology, the light bulbs will literally suck the heat out of nearby persons to generate light. Since the world is going to catch on fire in a few years, anyway, this will allow Canadians to stay cool. And well lit.

  11. Problems I have with CFLs:
    – most don’t work on dimmer switches and 90% of the switches in my house are on dimmers
    – their life spans are shortened when turned on and off, and since about 70% of the switches in my house are motion activated, let the rivers of mercury flow from all the bulbs I’ll be ripping through.

    I’d love to switch to LED based lighting, but they are price restrictive – 70 dollars for a LED bulb that’s the equivalent of the 3 dollar CFL bulb.

  12. Ed,

    Thanks for reminding that I’ll have beach front property soon. You’re quite the optimist!

  13. Personally, I think we should just re-engineer humans to see in infrared wavelengths. Then no lights will be necessary.

  14. I really don’t see the big fuss about CFL bulbs. I changed most bulbs in my apt with them over a year ago…never had any complaints myself. Have had company over many many times…nobody’s ever said “those bulbs have to go!!”…

  15. Lovely.

    Of course it would be one of the colder nations on earth.

    If you’ve got the heat on, incandescent bulbs are not that wasteful. The “waste”, after all, is heat — so the light bulb becomes part of the heating system.

    And since there is less sunlight in the winter, having lights on correlates with having the heat on.

    “But electricity is an inefficient way to heat a house,” one might say. Yeah, well, at least it has a chance to come from non-greenhouse gas emitting sources like flooded valleys. The actual efficient ways to heat homes come from fossil fuels.

    Of course, once fossil fuels get loads of carbon taxes built in, heating houses with incandescent light bulbs using non-fossil fuel electricity may well be the cheapest solution…

  16. You guys are a whiny bunch – no wonder the planet is going to pieces when even the most trivial sacrifice is considered a grave injustice.

  17. This is really a shame because fluorescent bulbs put out the most depressing light I’ve ever experienced. It’s so bad, my body hardly recognizes it as light.. only my eyes are fooled.
    I’ve made several attempts to inconspicuously turn off the numerous fluorescent light bulbs over my desk, but there’s only so dark it can get before some barrels in exclaiming “why are you working in the dark?” I’ll take 1-40Watt incandescent light bulb over 9 fluorescent light bulbs any day.
    History also tells us that this law will likely result in greater environmental problems such as mercury disposal issues and increased pollution from the pharmaceutical company plants manufacturing all of the necessary anti-depressants.

  18. I really don’t see the big fuss about CFL bulbs. I changed most bulbs in my apt with them over a year ago…never had any complaints myself. Have had company over many many times…nobody’s ever said “those bulbs have to go!!”…

    And I don’t see the big fuss about having wooden floors rather than carpeting, but I’ll damned sure make a fuss over a government who mandates I have one over the other.

  19. Well this makes the EZ Bake Oven extinct.

  20. Yeah guys, don’t whine when the government passes laws! They are only doing this for your own good! Stop questioning the government and just listen to everything they say.

  21. it can get before some barrels in exclaiming
    should read “before someone barrels in…”

  22. PL,

    Anything that is a U.S. program is clearly meant to destroy the planet, because all evil lives here. Am I reading that correctly?

    Yes.

    Jennifer,

    If I lived in Canada I’d lay in a lifetime supply of incandescents right now. Actually, given how things are going I’m tempted to do that anyway.

    Actually, you could trade full-flow toilets to non-Californian Americans, have an invisible transaction and a lifetime supply without having a storage problem.

  23. If we’re worried about excessive use of electricity, then plasma TV’s ought banned before incandescent light bulbs. Those fuckers use a ton of juice.

  24. montaigne,

    For dark, cold nights up there, you could resort to what the ancestors used: fire.

    If banning incandescent bulbs is good, not using any bulbs is better! Use oil lamps. I hear whale oil and seal oil, especially from baby snow seals, burns rather nice.

  25. Haha, banning the incandescent bulb is a “gateway ban”,much like a “gateway drug”, leading to more extreme bans. Soon Canada will start banning other “wasteful” utilities, like TV, trash compactors, jacuzzis, massage chairs, toaster ovens, etc…

  26. This is really a shame because fluorescent bulbs put out the most depressing light I’ve ever experienced. It’s so bad, my body hardly recognizes it as light.. only my eyes are fooled.

    In my office we usually keep the fluorescent overheads turned off (which works because we have huge windows). Usually, when it’s a little dim, we’ll turn on incandescent lamps we keep at our desks. But once in awhile I’ll come in to discover somebody has turned on the goddamnable fluorescents, and that’s when I know no amount of coffee will make me feel awake that day.

    I don’t know what it is about fluorescents, but seriously: no matter how alert and cheerful I feel, five minutes under fluorescent lighting just makes me flatline.

    I am not exaggerating when I say that if I couldn’t have incandescents in my home, I’ll use candles and oil lamps before I use fluorescent lighting. I still have all the lamps and candelabras left over from my Goth days, and I have no qualms about putting them back into service.

    And if this means a higher air-conditioning bill in the summertime, so be it.

  27. Let’s ban air conditioners, those things suck like 30 amps of electricity.

  28. If banning incandescent bulbs is good, not using any bulbs is better! Use oil lamps. I hear whale oil and seal oil, especially from baby snow seals, burns rather nice.

    Actually, that is a good retro fuel alternative. Biodiesel from the sea is organic (like petrol) AND renewable. With modern furtilization techniques and sonic hurding the supply can be limitless.

  29. I know how to make my millions. Order now, and I will send you a 60 watt bulb with each purchase of a high capacity magazine.

  30. the light bulbs will literally suck the heat out of nearby persons to generate light

    …from your cold, live hands.

  31. Let’s ban air conditioners, those things suck like 30 amps of electricity.

    Banning AC in a tundra farm seems pretty harmless.

  32. Actually, that is a good retro fuel alternative. Biodiesel from the sea is organic (like petrol) AND renewable. With modern furtilization techniques and sonic hurding the supply can be limitless.

    My lamps use petroleum-based paraffin oil. Deny me my incandescents and I guarantee my personal consumption of oil-into-light will increase.

    I’ll make sure of it.

  33. There are ‘warm’ flourescents that don’t seem so bad to me, light wise. I’ve been surprised when I go into certain stores and restaurants to see they are using all CFLs.

  34. Jennifer,

    My lamps use petroleum-based paraffin oil. Deny me my incandescents and I guarantee my personal consumption of oil-into-light will increase.

    Oh come on! Join the new envirowave and render some blubber!

  35. I have a cunning plan. Let’s round up people and. . .sell Soylent Oil!

  36. Governments are now turning what is a good idea (arguably) into a ridicous PR stunt to see whom can grab the latest headline:

    California: “We’ll be the first to outlaw incandescents! by 2020”
    Canada: “Oh yeah!? We’ll do it by 2012!”
    “Psshaw, 2008!”
    “Poppycocks! Now!”
    “Amateur. We’ve already gone CFL. 2 years ago.”
    “Whatever carbonator. We’ve never had incandescents. Ever.”
    “What’s an incandescent?”

  37. Actually, that is a good retro fuel alternative. Biodiesel from the sea is organic (like petrol) AND renewable. With modern furtilization techniques and sonic hurding the supply can be limitless.

    “I get 85 miles per seal pup!”

  38. In my office we usually keep the fluorescent overheads turned off (which works because we have huge windows). Usually, when it’s a little dim, we’ll turn on incandescent lamps we keep at our desks. But once in awhile I’ll come in to discover somebody has turned on the goddamnable fluorescents, and that’s when I know no amount of coffee will make me feel awake that day.

    I don’t know what it is about fluorescents, but seriously: no matter how alert and cheerful I feel, five minutes under fluorescent lighting just makes me flatline.

    I really think this kind of thing is more a symptom of your psychosis than a cause.

  39. I wasn’t making a statement concerning the laws that they want to impose…I was making a statement concerning the bulbs themselves. Maybe I found a decent brand (I don’t remember which) that doesn’t seem as harsh as some of you make it out to be. Either way, I don’t mind the CFLs in my apt…that’s all…

  40. Let’s ban living past the age of 65. That would simultaneously solve our environmental problems AND our Social Security problems. Also, cancer rates would plummet; it’s really win-win all around.

  41. Sam B,

    Don’t forget a lot of traffic problems…

  42. Unless America does it. Then it is pure evil.

  43. I have a cunning plan. Let’s round up people and. . .sell Soylent Oil!

    As long as you have to market it as free range like I have to with train oil. Ref. several months ago story about “organic” banned as a descriptor for seafood.

  44. Sam B-

    Grow up already.

  45. Christ on a banana-peel.

    I’ve worked as a stage-lighting director for thirty years. I have extremely sensitive eyes.

    When The Vampire State (New York) finally gets around to this sort of horseshit, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

    “I hope I die before
    The light goes cold.”

  46. Sam B,

    Sigh. Sixty-five? Are you crazy? It should be thirty. We could put little timers in everyone’s hands to make sure that they self-immolate at the proper time. Maybe some kind of ritual would help ease them on their way–hmmmm.

    Guy,

    Let me assure you that Soylent Oil is 100% natural and comes from a renewable resource.

    All,

    I have another cunning plan. Cause a reasonably close (i.e., outside the lethal range) star to go nova, and we’ll read by its light.

  47. Because I am such a cheap bastard (as opposed to a green), I have been replacing incandescents with compact flourescents for about a year now. The only that this is frustrating is that, so far, I have found 3 distinct types, with no discernable way to tell which is which.

    The bulbs either:
    Light up as soon as you turn them on; just like an incandescent
    -or-
    They wait about 3 seconds, then light up just like an incandescent
    -or-
    They light up as soon as you flip the switch, but are very dim; taking about a minute to come to full 100-watt equivalent brightness.

    I can live with all three types… but I’d like to know in advance of coming down off the ladder whether “this” bulb is a slow starter, a late starter or a fast bulb… depending on where it is.

    Just ramblin’.

    CB

  48. Wow, fake joe, nice screw up.

    Literate much?

  49. This is not well known, but do you know who else was an early proponent of fluorescent lighting?

    Yep, Hitler.

  50. Eventually some asshole senator is going to propose withholding highway funds for any state that doesn’t ban incandescent bulbs.

  51. even the most trivial sacrifice is considered a grave injustice

    In the first place the government precluding you from making a choice is not a sacrifice it is an abridgement of your freedom. And yes, any interference in your right to self-determination is a grave injustice. Second, I don’t know how old you are, but from your righteous government-school-generated indignation I would say you have yet to be visited with the joys of cataracts and any of the other eye problems that come once you hit your 40’s. Provided you don’t drown in the encroaching seas there will come a time when the quality of light will have a serious impact on quality of life.

  52. I choose to run my outfall line into swillfredo’s basement.

    Live free or die!

  53. Oh, the horror! CFLs put out perfectly decent light and consume less than a quarter of the energy. My table lamps even have broad-spectrum ones that that put out light closer to an incandescent full-spectrum than the Soft Whites you folks are whinging about. You no more have to buy those dull blue-gray fluorescents than you have to buy cheap, cruddy clear incandescents that put out jaundice-yellow light.

    Just a century ago most people were still using gaslight, oil lamps and candles at home and they somehow managed. It’s not like this is restricting where and when one can use lighting or forcing fewer lumens on anyone.

  54. The only that this is frustrating is that, so far, I have found 3 distinct types,

    There’s a fourth type. Ever try the 3-way fluorescents? Ugh! Each increase in illumination is also a different color.

  55. In the first place the government precluding you from making a choice is not a sacrifice it is an abridgement of your freedom. And yes, any interference in your right to self-determination is a grave injustice. Second, I don’t know how old you are, but from your righteous government-school-generated indignation I would say you have yet to be visited with the joys of cataracts and any of the other eye problems that come once you hit your 40’s. Provided you don’t drown in the encroaching seas there will come a time when the quality of light will have a serious impact on quality of life.

    Well, global warming will probably have an even more serious impact on quality of life.

    I won’t reveal how old I am, but I will say that I’m long past the stage where I think that I can do anything I want and when the government makes a rule for the greater good they’re really just out to make my life worse.

    Sorry, man, rules and government are among the prices of civilization.

  56. jimmy’s right. There are warm (lightwise) CFLs. I buy only CFLs for my home. Other than the split second they take to light up after I turn them on, I see no disadvantage. In fact some of them are closer to sunlight than some of the incandescents.
    As a bonus, I’ve been saving the old CFL bulbs with the plan of building my own rectal thermometer.

    Disclaimer: I am against any laws or bans regarding bulbs that people use.

    2nd Disclaimer: I am not building a rectal thermometer. Of course it will be oral.

  57. Just a century ago most people were still using gaslight, oil lamps and candles at home and they somehow managed.

    What a moronic statement. Of course they managed. People “managed” in Soviet Russia, too.

  58. joe,

    You almost got it right. “Light free or die” would be the correct slogan.

    Queen’s Gambit Declined,

    Come by the Soylent offices later today for a special rendering we’d like to do.

  59. Let me assure you that Soylent Oil is 100% natural and comes from a renewable resource.

    I don’t doubt it being “natural” but I have to call my whales “free range” then, by gosh, you must call your mammals free range too!

  60. What a moronic statement. Of course they managed. People “managed” in Soviet Russia, too.

    In Soviet Russia, they manage you.

  61. Does anyone know how you are actually supposed to dispose of CFLs? There do be a bit o’ mercury in them. I’ve got one or two in high use areas, but I can’t shake the feeling that if we all go 100% CFL, well, the world doesn’t need that many rectal thermometers.

  62. Setting up a light bulb shop in Jackman, Maine might be a good idea. Anybody want to invest?

  63. Setting up a light bulb shop in Jackman, Maine might be a good idea. Anybody want to invest?

    If all goes well I should be back from several years work in “the Orient” and ready to retire. Perhaps being a managing partner on a bulb trading post might be fun for the summer months (or is that singular in Maine?).

    Wonder if a shop can be made straddling the border? Full-flow toilet and Cuban cigar section on the north side, light bulbs on the south side.

  64. Sorry, man, rules and government are among the prices of civilization.

    I don’t think anyone is denying that. I think they are just arguing that some rules go beyond the purview of what a government should be doing to maintain civilation. I could point out countries that had plenty of laws and government and were far from “civilized” but I wouldn’t want to validate Goodwin’s Law.

  65. *Godwin’s Law

  66. There are warm (lightwise) CFLs.

    Only if you’re color blind.

    I’ve tried about 10 different brands of fluorescent blulbs and the best one had all the warmth of Don Rickles.

  67. Another thought occurs to me: I’d think that heating is probably one of the major, if not THE major, source of energy consumption in Canada. The heat that incandescent bulbs emit might be a bad thing in Alabama in August, but in Canada for most of the year I’d think that would actually be a good thing.

  68. I choose to run my outfall line into swillfredo’s basement.

    That is very generous of you to help yourself to my property, Kelo Rules!!! Anyway, have at it, I need a basement but bring a shovel and a snorkel. You should hit water at about 2 feet.

    I’m long past the stage where I think that I can do anything I want and when the government makes a rule for the greater good they’re really just out to make my life worse.

    Agents of the government are not out to make your life worse they are out to control you. Making your life worse is ancillary.

  69. I don’t think anyone is denying that. I think they are just arguing that some rules go beyond the purview of what a government should be doing to maintain civilation.

    I agree, but global warming and energy consumption are going to be major issues going forward for everybody on the planet so the government intervention is going to be necessary. The type of household lightbulbs is just the tip of the iceberg.

  70. Agents of the government are not out to make your life worse they are out to control you.

    Come on, that’s a bizarre and paranoid viewpoint.

  71. Drastic steps must be taken to save humanity from itself. Therefore, I, Pro Libertate, claim my rightful title as God Emperor of the Earth. Please do nothing until my minions have given you a permission slip. And I mean nothing!

    [Insert thunderous applause].

  72. Even assuming that electricity consumption is not only a cause of global warming but a significant cause that needs to be stopped, I’d rather see an outright electricity ration rather than a ban on how electricity can be used. I have a non-plasma TV which I only watch for three or four hours a week; even with my incandescent bulbs I use less electricity than someone with CFL bulbs who also spends his time glued to a plasma TV and never, ever turns off his computer.

    However, I don’t buy the idea that electricity is a problem with global warming. Especially considering how much of the electricity I use comes from either hydropower or nukes.

    Canada gets a lot of hydropower as well. Huge generating plants by Niagara Falls.

  73. Nuts to you, Russ 2000, you hockey puck!

  74. What Reinmoose said.

  75. Come on, that’s a bizarre and paranoid viewpoint.

    Feel free to articulate why. There are dozens of initiatives at the Federal level that have no other purpose but to control you and your choices.

  76. Oh, the horror! CFLs put out perfectly decent light and consume less than a quarter of the energy.

    The light may seem perfectly decent to you, but not to me. And if it’s that goddamned important that I reduce my energy use, I’d rather turn down the heat or turn up the AC than switch to fluorescents. Even assuming the government needs to force energy reduction on people, why not let us decide where to make the cutbacks?

  77. You know, this is actually a case where, if the people involved were sincerely concerned and not just politicians performing a stunt, a carbon tax – or just an electricity tax – would make a Hell of a lot more sense than a clumsy ban on specific products.

  78. Isn’t it kind of a farce to demand this change, when electricity generation is not and has never been the chief culprit in greenhouse gas creation?

    Forcing people to pay more for bad light, but then continuing to subsidize the use of the automobile [which IS the chief culprit] makes no sense.

    If Canada wants to help global warming so much, how about stopping the construction of new state-financed roads?

    All of the conservation means exactly dick anyway. By ramrodding the automobile culture into existence, and offering it up as the definition of “development”, we made all of this irrelevant. None of it will mean anything if the Indian and Chinese economies develop a car culture that matches the one in North America. If global warming is real, nothing we do matters relative to the impact increasing the size of the worldwide car culture by five times.

  79. If governments really were worried about excessive energy use, in this case electricity, they wouldn’t be putting so much effort in setting electricity rates in order to keep the costs down.

  80. Jennifer,

    Even assuming that electricity consumption is not only a cause of global warming but a significant cause that needs to be stopped, I’d rather see an outright electricity ration rather than a ban on how electricity can be used. I have a non-plasma TV which I only watch for three or four hours a week; even with my incandescent bulbs I use less electricity than someone with CFL bulbs who also spends his time glued to a plasma TV and never, ever turns off his computer.

    I am taking up the slack for you. The FSFLs in my kitchen are on 24/7 and have been for almost 2 years. Both CRT televisions are on 24/7 along with the CRT computer monitor and computer.

    I do have the windows open and the heat-pump off right now during the nice weather, so I guess I am a bit of a slacker there 😉

  81. I agree, but global warming and energy consumption are going to be major issues going forward for everybody on the planet so the government intervention is going to be necessary.

    Here’s the thing though: even assuming that humans ARE the primary force involved in climate change how much are changing lightbulbs and other environmental activities going to change things now? There is no way to actually measure this kind of “damage” to the environment and that’s assuming that these changes are even damaging on net. On the other hand I can tell you for sure that these intiatives are going to cut into people’s budgets, hitting poor people the hardest, and they are going to stifle innovation and technologic progress. It seems to be common sense to me that if the damages of an action are well known and can be objectively measured and the benefits are vague and illusory then you should really think twice before taking that action.

  82. Feel free to articulate why. There are dozens of initiatives at the Federal level that have no other purpose but to control you and your choices.

    Like what? Why does anybody care about my choices if there’s no larger issue involved?

  83. On the other hand I can tell you for sure that these intiatives are going to cut into people’s budgets, hitting poor people the hardest, and they are going to stifle innovation and technologic progress.

    In this case, forcing people to buy more energy-efficient light bulbs will help their bank accounts, not hurt them, as they’ll save money on their monthly power bill.

  84. or just an electricity tax – would make a Hell of a lot more sense than a clumsy ban on specific products.

    We already have that everyplace I know of in the USA. Maybe Canadians really do take that last quited line to absurdity? “Anything that is a U.S.-related program is clearly outside of Kyoto, so that to me is very worrisome.”…”It’s putting a Band-Aid on cancer.”

  85. Queen’s Gambit Declined,

    Just don’t complain if the people in power decide to force you to do something that they think is for the good of mankind. You know, like occupying Iraq. Or forcing you to join the national religion.

  86. In this case, forcing people to buy more energy-efficient light bulbs will help their bank accounts, not hurt them, as they’ll save money on their monthly power bill.

    Two points. One, as many people have pointed out the waste from incandescent bulbs is released as heat, so while their power bill may go down their energy bill may go up. Two, if that’s really true why do you need a law to enforce this change? Do people really need to be forced to act in their own best interest?

  87. Plus, have you ver tried to smoke meth out of a CFL…cannot be done sir…I don’t care how sprocked you are. Won’t someone please think of the tweakers?!

  88. Queen’s Gambit Declined,

    Just don’t complain if the people in power decide to force you to do something that they think is for the good of mankind. You know, like occupying Iraq. Or forcing you to join the national religion.

    I don’t like the way they force us to drive on the right side of the road and stop at red lights “for the common good”. Who are they to decide?

    So yeah, this point goes both ways. The whole point of government is to keep people from doing certain things that they’d do otherwise.

  89. swillfredo,

    “That is very generous of you to help yourself to my property”

    Ditto to you.

    The additional floodwaters and storm damage my property experiences because of your greenhouse gas emissions are trespasses, just as the flooding and stink your property experiences from my sewer line emissions.

    Tell you what, I’ll set it up so the outfall lands 1 foot inside the public right-of-way before flowing into your basement. That way, I’m emitting into a commons, not directly into your property.

  90. Queen’s Gambit is one of the better trolls we’ve had lately. Possibly because she’s so well-fed by the posters here.

  91. I don’t like the way they force us to drive on the right side of the road and stop at red lights

    You must be a troll in his late 20’s/early 30’s.

    Nobody drives on the right side of the road because government tells them to. They drive on the right side of the road because they don’t want to get killed by other drivers. You can be my guest and try driving on the wrong side of the road if you want. My guess is that your first concern won’t be “Gee, I hope the government doesn’t catch me.”

  92. “Just don’t complain if the people in power decide to force you to do something that they think is for the good of mankind. You know, like occupying Iraq. Or forcing you to join the national religion.”

    I like this line of thinking. Since you believe there should be police and courts to enforce trespass laws, you don’t get to complain if the police and courts enforce drug laws.

    Or, you know, you could actually distinguish between good and bad. But that’s a lot more work.

  93. Joe, do you actually think this lightbulb ban is the way to help solve the problem of global warming?

  94. Jennifer’s right, a better way to do this would be a power bill tax. I know we don’t like taxes here, but bans are even worse, and an electric use tax like that would hit the problem directly.

  95. Queen’s Gambit –

    The purpose of the government is to prevent citizens from harming one another, or coming to harm from forces from outside the polity.

    That’s why the government “keeps people from doing certain things”.

    The problem here is that they can’t demonstrate that using an incandescent bulb is harming anyone.

    Even if global warming was proven, that would only prove that using large amounts of electricity frivolously was a harm, and thus could justify an electricity tax. An incandescent bulb used prudently will still use less electricity than a flourescent bulb left on all the time, which I promise to do if required to use them.

  96. Naturally the Canucks would promote the CFL. I doubt that ‘Meruhcuns will ever get use to seeing two 50 yard lines.

  97. a better way to do this would be a power bill tax.

    NO!!!

    A better way is to get government out of the business of setting energy rates. What the fuck is the point of putting a tax on a government-lowered power bill?

  98. I’m sorry Queen’s Gambit, but this really is one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever read:

    In this case, forcing people to buy more energy-efficient light bulbs will help their bank accounts, not hurt them, as they’ll save money on their monthly power bill.

    Sam B had it right. Why do you have to force people to do something that’s in their best interest?

    Also, I’d like to point out (again) that there ARE negative externalities to policies like this. Like the energy and resources necessary to manufacture all of the CFLs Canada will ever need. If they don’t have the industry to be able to do that, they’ll have to import them from someplace else (China?), feeding China’s light bulb industry, where light bulbs are likely not produced as environmentally as they are in Canada… but then I have an idea. Why not make a law saying that all light bulbs have to be bought from a Canadian company? That will fix everything

  99. Jennifer,

    I think that setting sunset dates for inefficient technologies is a good way to spur the innovation of technologies to replace them, yes.

    It just became much more lucrative for someone to invent a better incandescent light bulb.

  100. Queen’s Gambit is one of the better trolls we’ve had lately. Possibly because she’s so well-fed by the posters here.

    I am all for other viewpoints, troll or otherwise, as long as they have something to say and can do it without being a complete asshole. We need something to do with all the extra food the Freedom To Farm Act generates anyway.

  101. As bootleg bulbs will still be plentiful, the Canadian government will have to outlaw the old screw-in receptacles and then mandate new fluorescent-bulb-end thingies that work only with the new government approved dedicated receptacles, each of which will have a yearly licensing fee, like British television. This will make for hilarious Canadian comedy sketches that will be copied by Saturday Night Live and not laughed at by the studio audience.

  102. Oh, and Fluffy, I hear what you’re saying about subsidizing the car culture, and Russ 2000 about artificially setting lower power rates.

    You’ll notice, however, that neither of your posts got any response from the “government will fix it” crowd because it BLOWS their mind that we’re not currently experiencing the negative effects of capitalism, but rather of government intervention. It’s too much to handle for some people to think that maybe, to fix a problem, instead of doing something, we must do just the opposite.

  103. I think that setting sunset dates for inefficient technologies is a good way to spur the innovation of technologies to replace them, yes.

    Joe, my question was “do you think banning incandescent bulbs is the way to solve global warming,” not “do you think technology should be banned after it becomes obsolete.”

    Also, what about the other issues addressed here, such as letting people choose how to reduce their electricity use? If I’m only allowed to use X watts of electricity per year, I’d rather keep my incandescents, put on a sweater and turn down the heat. Why is this a problem, do you think?

  104. Now now, let’s not get our panties in bunches.

    The target year is 5 years away. That’s plenty of time for the market to come up with an affordable, acceptable alternative.

    Right? Surely high-output LED bulbs will come down in price and be tuned in color balance by then.

    (Or is the magic of market-based techno innovation like a mentalist’s powers – it doesn’t work under scrutiny by non-believers.)

  105. Hmmm…has anyone ever seen Queen’s Gambit and Dan T. in the same room together?

  106. I’m not sure if QG and good ‘ol Dan T. are the same person…Dan T irritated the hell out of me, but QG just makes me want to club baby seals. HOI and QG, however…definitely one and the same.

  107. Jon H –
    It doesn’t work when people try to make s*** up! Don’t be such a dick. You can’t say that “LED bulbs will come down in price in 5 years” is a market-driven idea, because nobody knows! What a lame argument.

  108. “Sam B had it right. Why do you have to force people to do something that’s in their best interest?

    Because people are often stupid and short-sighted, and really don’t consider what’s in their best interest, and what isn’t. They keep doing things out of habit, not out of thoughtful consideration.

    Given that most people buying incandescents have probably never bought a CFL, may not know what a CFL is, and probably couldn’t tell you whether a given bulb is incandescent or CFL, I’d guess most people haven’t really thought much about their bulb options lately.

  109. Jon –

    That’s not really a market outcome.

    Having the state dictate “We demand you produce technology X!” and then sit back and wait is not really a market mechanism.

    That’s like passing a law demanding cold fusion in 5 years and then calling it a market failure if it doesn’t happen.

  110. Nobody drives on the right side of the road because government tells them to. They drive on the right side of the road because they don’t want to get killed by other drivers. You can be my guest and try driving on the wrong side of the road if you want. My guess is that your first concern won’t be “Gee, I hope the government doesn’t catch me.”

    Then why is there a law in place that prohibits you from driving left of the yellow line?

  111. If people don’t know what’s in their best interest, why not tell them? Why aren’t the CFL makers going out being like “OMG! Our light bulb will save you SO much money”… oh wait, they’re already doing that. And there are plenty of little activist groups going around touting the wondrous wonders of CFLs.

    It’s not like you’ve got some giant incandescent light bulb conglomerate spewing anti-CFL lies and beating the CFLs to a pulp. You’ve got light-bulb conglomerates being like “We’re all Green! Buy a CLF and you’ll save money!” and power companies being like “Buy a CFL and you’ll save money!” How much more public information do we need?

  112. If only we had a centrally planned economy, where the smartest people tell us nitwits what to do, and all the people are well-fed and prosperous.

  113. It just became much more lucrative for someone to invent a better incandescent light bulb.

    They should have one that automatically switches to non-incandescent mode when the ambient temperature goes over a comfortable room temperature (eg, 68 degrees). That way, you get nice light so long as you keep the thermostat down, but you get ugly depressing light if you crank the heater. Net energy savings over current tech for furnace intensive Canada.

    Sadly, I don’t think my concept is compatible with Canada’s proposed legislative scheme. Oh, well. One less patent application I have to write this week.

  114. “It just became much more lucrative for someone to invent a better incandescent light bulb.”

    Almost. Incandescents are about to be banned, which will provide a market incentive for someone to invent a better non-incandescent light bulb.

    CB

  115. Then why is there a law in place that prohibits you from driving left of the yellow line?

    Because it’s a Schelling Point, the violation of which can cause direct and immediate harm to others.

    What does this have to do with prohibiting the selection of light bulbs that cause no direct and immediate harm to anyone?

  116. Almost. Incandescents are about to be banned, which will provide a market incentive for someone to invent a better non-incandescent light bulb.

    An intelligent law would be written something like, “No lighting device will be sold that emits less than 30% of its energy as visible light.”

    Of course, I take it as a given that the new Canadian law is not written this way.

  117. Then why is there a law in place that prohibits you from driving left of the yellow line?

    The laws came after the yellow lines. Are you assuming most people ignored the yellow lines before the laws?

  118. “The whole point of government is to keep people from doing certain things that they’d do otherwise.”

    Oh man, this belongs on the dumb Rosie quotes thread. That’s some good trollin’ there QGD.

  119. There’s a law about yellow lines because the roads belong to the state, and as the property owners the state can make up whatever rules they want regarding yellow lines, pink lines, orange rectangles, etc.

  120. I.S.D.

    I think there was a thread last week where HOI was outed as Dan T. He made a comment about changing his handle because his other was being spoofed so much. Judgin by his “email address” he was also $400 haircut.

  121. Jennifer,

    I do not think that banning incandescent light bulbs is a sufficient strategy for solving global warming.

    Cracker’s Boy,

    D’ohh!

    Mike P,

    I agree, it would be better to have a law that doesn’t pick technologies, just sets the standard and lets the private sector figure out how to meet it. For this reason, I think the hybrid-car tax benefit should be rewritten based on an mgp standard.

  122. joe,

    Huh? You must be arguing with the Pro Libertate in your head. That sounds like an insult, but, actually, it’s possible, since I’m currently having chips implanted in all of my subjects’ skulls.

    In any case, ’tweren’t me making remarks about “forcing” people to do things for the “greater good”. My point was that the guys calling the shots determine what’s the “greater good”, and you better be prepared for some consequences that you don’t like when you cede so much power to the government.

    Even if you think mankind will be exterminated next year if we don’t do something about global warming, banning incandescent bulbs makes virtually no sense. It’s a “we’re doing something” moment, and that’s all it is.

  123. Pro Libertate,

    Once you agree that there will be a state at all, you are ceding some power and decision-making authority to them.

    I can tolerate the “but what if the government does something you dislike” argument from principled anarchists, but not from the-state-should-enforce-my-rights libertarians. You want the government to be limited to doing what you deem legitimate; so I do I. That we disagree on the definition of “legitimate” does not make you any less supportive of a government that enforces correct behavior than me.

  124. A possible down side to Ethan’s proposed light bulb shop in Maine. Plenty of hysteria to go around in the linked story. It does bring to mind the question of where you’re supposed to throw these bulbs out when they “burn out”.

    Banning incandescents strikes me as insane. The beef against incandescents don’t last as long as CFLs and use more power per lumen. For the first case, why should the government care? If the thought is that it takes a lot of greenhouse gasses to make a bulb (I have no idea whether that’s true or not) and that we should minimize the number of bulbs made, then just place a small tax on each bulb.

    For the second case, aren’t we already penalized on the amount of power we use when we receive our monthly bill? How is the “excess” power an incandescent bulb uses any more deadly to the environment than the power a blender, plasma TV, or A/C unit uses? If someone wants to pay for the excess energy their light bulbs use, why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

    Pro Lib, as usual, hits it on the head. “It’s a we’re doing something moment, and that’s all it is.”

  125. The second sentence, second para, makes more sense if you insert “is that they” between incandescents and don’t.

    I’m still stunned at the idea that a “legitimate” area for government regulation and prohibition includes the light bulbs its citizens may use.

  126. Joe,
    The difference that you point out between yourself and libertarians, while true, can be a bit more specific.

    You say: “You want the government to be limited to doing what you deem legitimate; so I do I. That we disagree on the definition of “legitimate” does not make you any less supportive of a government that enforces correct behavior than me.”

    I see the difference this way:
    Libertarians want a certain set of rules on which everyone can agree (what are seen as human rights.. the right to live, the right to property, the right to self determination). Aside from those rules, we say “Ok… GO!”
    You, and presumably other supporters of government involvement, want mostly the same human rights, but then they want a lot of input as to how people go about fulfilling those rights. To me, the self-determination clause is the one that separates libertarians from government-lovers.

    So as for how I see it, it’s not an issue of gradient, it’s an issue of criteria to define an individual’s human rights.

  127. First off, I agree that banning incandescent light bulbs is stupid.

    Second, I can’t help but notice that those of you who are whining about fluorescent lights draining your lifeforce or whatever, need to GET A LIFE!

  128. Russ 2000 | April 26, 2007, 10:11am | #
    If we’re worried about excessive use of electricity, then plasma TV’s ought banned before incandescent light bulbs. Those fuckers use a ton of juice.

    I replaced my CRT TV with a nifty 61″ DLP one about 2 years ago and cut my electrical bill by about 60 bucks/month despite watching more television. Didn’t realize plasmas were just as bad as CRT.

    Also Cracker’s Boy:
    The bulbs either:
    Light up as soon as you turn them on; just like an incandescent

    These are called cold CFLs or CCFLs for short. They’re slightly less efficient than normal CFLs but work on dimmers/3way switches and have longer life than regular CFLs and also don’t heat up like other bulbs. Also, more expensive than the rest – 10-15 bucks a pop usually.

    They wait about 3 seconds, then light up just like an incandescent

    These are the regular CFLs that everyone is so insistent people buy. Doesn’t work on dimmers/3way circuits.


    They light up as soon as you flip the switch, but are very dim; taking about a minute to come to full 100-watt equivalent brightness.

    These are the old fluorescents I think. Not entirely sure since I haven’t run into any recently.

  129. cold CFLs

    bah, that should read cold cathode CFLs.

  130. Second, I can’t help but notice that those of you who are whining about fluorescent lights draining your lifeforce or whatever, need to GET A LIFE!

    No, that comment needs to be directed to those who think that outlawing certain forms of lighting will save the earth.

    Hell, they don’t have to get a life if they don’t want to. They just need to stop fucking around with mine.

  131. I’m just waiting for the backlash once people in general become aware of these laws and face not buying incandescents. That will be amusing. It’ll be doubly amusing when, as weirdly seems to happen now and then, some Team Blue True Believer pops up and blames folks like us for it.

  132. I’m curious as to how many people on H&R simultaneously think that:

    a) dissenters are “whining” about light sources

    and

    b) Seasonal Affective Disorder is a legitimate problem that people suffer from

  133. I’m in Canada and already have a stockpile. CFLs are nice in certain areas (in certain fixtures where the light looks nice and not so artificial) and make sense in rooms where the lights will be on for a sustained duration, but that’s it.

    Canada and the whole Kyoto thing is pretty hilarious right now, though:
    http://www.filibustercartoons.com/archive.php?id=20070422

    Oh, and I wasn’t affected by SAD until I moved from the south to Canada. But it actually is a huge, legitimate problem for me. Part of it is surely that I’m used to southern winters and the cold and lack of light and not being able to go outside really does get to you. I don’t know anyone raised here who has it though.

  134. I replaced my CRT TV with a nifty 61″ DLP one about 2 years ago and cut my electrical bill by about 60 bucks/month despite watching more television. Didn’t realize plasmas were just as bad as CRT.

    You also didn’t realize that DLP is not plasma.

  135. I can tolerate the “but what if the government does something you dislike” argument from principled anarchists, but not from the-state-should-enforce-my-rights libertarians.

    Well joe, this is why you are a troll. Anarchy is principled but minarchy isn’t?

  136. Minarchy is principled, Russ 2000.

    Minarchists arguing “you can’t complain about any use of government power, because you support some other uses of government power” are not.

    Troll is just another word for
    No point left to argue.
    Said nothing, that’s all you’ve said to me.

  137. Joe, I know I’ve asked this on other threads, but what point are you trying to make here? You’ve admitted that you don’t think light bulb bans will solve the global warming problem, yet you seem to think this ban is a good idea; ‘hooray for laws against obsolete technologies.’ So what exactly is your position on this ban, and why?

  138. Haven’t had time to read all posts, so may be repeating already-posted material, but several technical points:

    Yes, the color of fluorescent lights is way colder (more blue) than that produced by incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs produce light at 3200 Kelvins, fluoro at about 2800 Kelvins.

    Dislike for bluish lighting is not whining — unless you discount all the psych research on seasonal affective disorder.

    The proper measure of light output is the Lumen — fluoros do produce more lumens per watt than do incans, but the color temp differs, as noted above.

    Fluoro lights flicker — some people can consciously detect this, for others it’s a subliminal stimulus. CFL’s less flickery. Flickering bugs the hell out of those that can see it, cf “whining, SAD”

    The enviro community deliberately ignores the mercury problems created by fluoro light disposal.

    LED’s are ‘spensive, but last (almost) forever and are not point-sources of contaminants.

    Good point raised above about waste heat from incans not being a problem in colder climates.

    Disappointed in the gratuitous comments about whale and seal oils — this would seem to be the result of something other than the dispassionate analysis which should be the libertarian ideal.

  139. Disappointed in the gratuitous comments about whale and seal oils — this would seem to be the result of something other than the dispassionate analysis which should be the libertarian ideal.

    How much energy does that 4 ft T8 bulb up your tailpipe use? More than it takes to chill my drink down to proper consumption temperature?

  140. You left out human oils in your disappointment. I’m disappointed in your disappointment. I don’t like wasted Soylent Corporation jokes.

    I do like the LEDs’ potential. Pricey now but probably not forever.

  141. Pro Libertate
    If the market works like we say it should, LEDs will come down in price exactly in time for the 2012 ban on incandescent light bulbs. That’s how it works, right?

  142. Indeed! Whenever the market does anything good, the statists tell us that no, it was their harebrained regulations/warnings that saved us.

    Bully for them.

  143. quick thoughts:

    government should not ban the incandescant.

    but, government should tax inneficient products (eg incandescants) and services, and use much of the funds tlo subsidize highly efficient goods and srevices.

    Government should also require of itself to go carbon-free/net zero-energy/whatever government buildings and services asap. It should not put such requirements on private consumers.

    Someone should invent and make a wintersafe CFL for the Canuks, with a built in heater and an insulated shell.

    Eventually CFLs should be banned (or taxed or something) for mercury content.

    ‘They’ need to keep working on good LED alternatives…I tried a few, they suck as bulb replacements. Maybe in four years.

  144. p.s.
    the Ban/Tax on mercurial CFLs might be better done as a deposit system instead, like glass bottles and aluminum cans. CFLs ‘can be’ recycled. A reason to bother would help reduce Mercury waste.

  145. Troll is just another word for
    No point left to argue.

    No, troll is a word for being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, even if you have to make up an argument no one else was making.

    That we disagree on the definition of “legitimate” does not make you any less supportive of a government that enforces correct behavior than me.

    No libertarian on this thread was making an argument for behavior enforcement.

    The libertarian/minarchist principle is based on government being the enforcer of remedies for specific, proven damages resulting from specific, proven actions. When the subject is as vague as global warming, there is nothing specific and proven on either the damge or action side. If you want to point out libertarians supporting government behavior enforcement, at least do it in a thread where a so-called libertarian has actually made such an argument (like an immigration thread).

  146. I replaced my CRT TV with a nifty 61″ DLP one about 2 years ago and cut my electrical bill by about 60 bucks/month despite watching more television.

    And the government didn’t even make you do it!

  147. Jennifer,

    I’ve stated that this ban is not sufficient to solve the global warming problem. That doesn’t make it wholly useless, or wrongheaded.

    Believe it or not, I haven’t made up my mind. I’m reserving judgement until I can draw a conclusion that isn’t pulled out of my ass.

    Russ2000, stop cowering behind semantics. “Behavior enforcement,” whatever you want to call it, my point is perfectly clear. I’m not interested in your dodgy word games.

    Freaking denialist. “It’s not PROVEN, it’s not PROVEN!”


  148. I’ve stated that this ban is not sufficient to solve the global warming problem. That doesn’t make it wholly useless, or wrongheaded.

    Really? What is useful or rightheaded about it? Even assuming that cutting home electricity consumption is something government needs to mandate, how is banning one specific little piece of technology of which many people are fond better than simply saying “You can have X watts of electricity, do with it as you wish?”

    (I’m also willing to guess that where incandescent bans are in place or will be, no exceptions are made for, say, people with solar panels who get all their electricity from the sun and can keep incandescent bulbs burning forever without doing jack to the atmosphere.)

  149. Speaking of efficiency, my measure of fuel efficiency on a vehicle is how much horse power I can get out of a gallon of fuel.

  150. Hey Jennifer,

    You should ask joe how much jail time does he think an incandescent bulb user should get?

  151. You should ask joe how much jail time does he think an incandescent bulb user should get?

    Heh heh heh. Yesterday I was personally insulted by the Chief of Police in the main town I cover.

    That’s when a journalist knows she totally kicks ass.

  152. Jennifer,
    Did you ask the CoP how much jail time did he think a reporter should get for asking questions?

    btw, your own blog is overdue for a new entry.
    It’s not nice to keep your loyal fans waiting.

  153. btw, your own blog is overdue for a new entry.

    I know. I’m sorry. I’ve been so damned busy at work, and while I like the story I wrote for this week’s issue (a tongue-in-cheek look at a PETA rally I attended in a leather coat), I worry that having a blog discussing nothing but my job is lame.

    Lame.

  154. Jennifer,
    If your story is about an increase in sewer rates or wannabe gang-bangers tagging the playground, then yes blogging your job would be lame.

    But, you are a writer and depending on what you write about and how artfully you write, your job can rise above lameness and provide good fodder for a blog.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.