Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

What a bunch of bright sparks!

It seems no sooner do I do a post about the crazy situation in the US House of Representatives where Republicans are trying to over turn legislation to improve energy efficiencies of the humble light bulb and warn that the fight is not over (and I was right), than they vote to 'strip all funding from government programmes promoting energy-saving lightbulbs.'!

But my original post got some things wrong. I assumed that the legislation was a phased ban of the inefficient tungsten bulb in favour of the new compacts and LEDs. In fact it was just a law, passed in 2007 by Republican George Dubya remember, to simply set efficiency standards for general-service, screw-in light bulbs - there was no ban and no forcing consumers to buy compact fluorescent lighting against their will.

So claims by these Right Wingnuts that this is an assault on individual liberty and now an affront to the memory of the lightbulb inventor, Thomas Edison, is nonsense. If every new development was an affront to an original inventor we would still be driving black cars, listening to music on wax drums and talking on wind up telephones.

Even more insane is that US lighting manufacturers asked for the legislation to avoid a mix of conflicting standards that would have driven up costs and created market confusion. As it happens;
"Major lightbulb makers such as Philips and GE had already begun making the new, more efficient bulbs, and opposed the measure. The last factory in the US making the inefficient 100 watt bulbs closed last year."
I cannot help but wonder how much political effort and time has been wasted promoting this nonsense. It looks to me as if these 'representatives of the people' have found something to rally behind. Something to spin out of all reasonable significance like politicians have done in the past when they chose Jews, Blacks, Gays and Immigrants, because they wanted to give their supporters a bad guy and to form a sense of unity, and to give a target to aim at. But in this case they have chosen an Energy Efficiency Standard.

But my original post was also off the mark by simply calling this lot of energy fascists, Republicians. In fact there are many sane people in the Republician party who see throught the stupidity of all this. One group, called 'Republicians for Environmental Protection', issued an initial statement on this idiocy which is worth mirroring;
Rejection of Dim BULB Act a Victory for Common Sense

The House's defeat today of bizarre legislation to turn back the clock on lighting efficiency was a victory for the economy, the environment, and common sense, Republicans for Environmental Protection said.
"We regret that Congress was forced to waste its time voting on a foolish bill that was premised entirely on false claims and ignorance," David Jenkins, REP vice president for government and political affairs, said.
"If enacted, Joe Barton's BULB Act would have wasted millions of dollars for lighting manufacturers and billions for consumers. And for what, to placate fears about a non-existent light bulb ban rumor that Barton himself created?" Jenkins said.
"Members of Congress and talk radio entertainers who knowingly peddled this falsehood and misled consumers are a national embarrassment and ought to be ashamed of themselves," Jenkins added.
"We're pleased that 10 Republicans, including Reps. Charles Bass (NH), Brian Bilbray (CA), Tom Reed (NY), and Dave Reichert (WA) saw through the charade and voted to kill this nonsensical bill," Jenkins said.
"The repeal bill was based on a false premise, that the 2007 law setting efficiency standards for general-service, screw-in light bulbs bans incandescent bulbs and will force consumers to buy compact fluorescent lighting. The law does no such thing," Jim DiPeso, REP vice president for policy and communication, explained.
These are the facts. Lighting manufacturers asked for the 2007 legislation in order to avoid a patchwork of state standards that would have driven up costs and created market confusion. It's the same reason Ronald Reagan signed into law legislation setting appliance efficiency standards during his presidency.
Lighting manufacturers have introduced new incandescent bulbs that look like conventional incandescent bulbs. The new bulbs are on store shelves right now. They produce the same quantity and quality of light, but use 28 to 33 percent less energy. Switching to more efficient light bulbs will save households $100 per year on their electric bills.
"Same light, lower costs, more consumer choices than ever. The repeal bill was a daft solution in search of a non-existent problem. We hope that Congress has seen the last of it and can turn its attention to more important matters," DiPeso said.
 Now that a majority on the Republician side of the House of Representatives have made this vote declaring victory and freedom for tungsten lightbulbs they are no more impressed;

House Attack on Lighting Efficiency Disappointing
Republicans for Environmental Protection is disappointed that the House passed by voice vote today an appropriations amendment blocking funds to enforce lighting efficiency standards enacted with bipartisan support in 2007.
"If enacted into law, this amendment to the 2012 energy appropriations bill would strand millions of dollars that lighting manufacturers have invested to produce more efficient incandescent light bulbs, cause confusion in the market, and waste consumers' money," David Jenkins, REP vice president for government and political affairs, said.
"There is no ban on incandescent light bulbs, as critics of the 2007 law falsely claim. Thanks to innovative lighting manufacturers, Americans have more lighting choices than ever. That is the case today and will be the case next year, when the 2007 law takes effect," Jenkins said.
"We urge the Senate to keep this foolish amendment out of the final energy appropriations bill," Jim DiPeso, vice president for policy and communications, said.
 One wonders how far this said foolishness will go but I'm certain it is not finished with yet.

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