Tea Party Attempt to Block Incandescent Ban Fails to Get Enough Votes


Photo: Flickr, CC

Looks Like the Law Signed by George W. Bush in 2007 Will Stay on the Books

As I mentioned a couple days ago, Republicans were trying to block a law setting minimum efficiency for lightbulbs, which would have made U.S. citizens waste $12.5 billion in wasted electricity over the next 9 years, or the equivalent of what 33 power stations produce. But it didn't quite turn out the way Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party wanted...

They Might Try Again

The 2007 law that mandates a minimum level of efficiency about 25% higher for all light bulbs, which would effectively ban the very inefficient 100-watt incandescent bulb, has survived... for now.

But Tuesday night's vote in the House of Representatives failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed under special rules invoked by Republicans to fasttrack the repeal.

The bill did get a 233-193 majority in the House, however, and Joe Barton the Texan Republican behind the measure told US politics website Politico he would try again to get the legislation through - by any means.

"We can put it on an appropriations bill", he said. "We can back it under a rule. I can try and go to some of the Democrats who didn't vote for it and figure out a way to get them to consider voting for it in a different format." (source)

So this isn't over by any means.

Nudging the Invisible Hand
I'm not a big fan of regulators picking specific technologies. They tend to get it wrong, like with corn ethanol. But setting broad standards that apply to all technologies is a proven way to encourage innovation and competition. MPG requirements for cars have helped make them more efficient, and minimum efficiency standards for lightbulbs can do the same.

Whatever your political affiliation, waste shouldn't be glorified. Incandescent bulbs aren't about freedom, they're just relics of a bygone era, and they're sticking around because most people have no idea how much they spent on lighting, so there's a blind spot for the invisible hand of the market. But by nudging things in the right direction with broad efficiency standards, we can accelerate the improvement of CFLs and LEDs and bring on economies of scale faster, bringing prices down. Once high-quality LEDs bulbs (see reviews below) are only a few bucks each, everybody will have won. People's wallets, the planet. Even Michelle Bachmann can have lower electricity bills and spend the money on gold bullion or whatever...

See also: Light Bulb Ban Would Save Consumers $12.5 Billion by 2020, Eliminate 33 Power Plants

Via The Guardian

Energy Efficient LED Lights Reviews
Qnuru 6.4W and 9.2W LED Lightbulbs (Product Review)
FIRST Green 'e-Watt Saver' 7W LED Lightbulb (Product Review)
Philips AmbientLED 12.5 Watts LED Lightbulb (Product Review)
GE 'Energy Smart' 9W LED Lightbulb (Product Review)

Tags: Energy Efficiency | Less Is More | Lighting