Better keep stockpiling those incandescent light bulbs, folks, because yesterday Congress voted not to overturn the phase-out of conventional incandescent light bulbs that begins less than six months from now.
Libertarian types have long opposed the virtual ban for lofty-sounding (although perfectly correct) reasons — government overreach, violation of free-market principles, blatant flouting of the Constitution — but I confess that my own visceral revulsion at the light-bulb mandate comes from more practical, down-to-earth considerations.
First, fluorescent light gives some people migraine headaches, it torments those of us with visual and/or auditory hypersensitivity, and it aggravates ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. (Could that be one reason ADHD rates have gone through the roof the last few decades, as schools have phased out incandescent lights as well as good old-fashioned windows?)
Secondly, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) contain mercury. Have you read the EPA’s official guide on handling CFLs? Heaven help you if you ever break one of the darn things. The first thing you have to do is turn off the air-conditioner or heater (any forced-air system) and open all the windows, so that the mercury vapor released when the bulb broke can be aired out of the house. The guide hasn’t yet been updated to reflect the latest findings that some of the mercury may remain in your house for up to 128 days.
All the materials you use to do the cleanup have to be put into a sealed glass or plastic container and taken to the nearest Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Disposal Center. If you live in a rural area, as I do, and that center is a long way away, you’ll just have to set aside the container of hazardous stuff in a safe place until your next trip to the big city. But you’d better call ahead; some HHW centers are only open one day a week, or month. (How many whipped American citizens does it take to change a broken light bulb? Three. One to open all the windows, one to keep the children out of the room, and one to call the HazMat team.)
Even bulbs that don’t get broken require special disposal procedures. Ideally, they should be recycled — either at a HHW disposal center, or at certain commercial establishments such as Ace, Lowe’s, Home Depot and IKEA. The EPA has a handy-dandy guide for that, too. Unfortunately, according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers, only about 2% of CFLs are being disposed of properly. The other 98% end up in landfills. Is anyone surprised?
And what is all of this folderol and rigmarole for, anyway — to save energy? When you factor in all the costs — manufacture and disposal — of these confounded bulbs, I’m not so sure that they save energy at all. But assuming they do save a little, why have they become such a sacred cow for the Left? Because of “global warming” (AGW)? Are you kidding me? It’s as if ClimateGate never happened. The veil has been lifted on what is probably the greatest scientific fraud ever perpetrated — but our government leaders continue to walk around with a blanket over their heads.
Unfortunately, they have little incentive to come out from under it. Al Gore with his billions he’s made in the global warming con game is only the tip of the iceberg. Vast multitudes of EPA and DOE bureaucrats, along with the scientists to whom they dole out grants (i.e., our tax dollars), make their living off of the “climate change” scam.
Molly Ivins was a diehard leftist, but I’ve always thought she got one thing right. She said that no matter how solid your facts and how logical your argument, you will never get someone to see the plain truth if they have a vested interest in not seeing it.
I think of that bit of wisdom when I consider GE, the largest manufacturer of CFLs as well as the largest manufacturer of the turbines used for wind power. Given that its CEO, Jeff Immelt, is one of Obama’s closest advisors, don’t expect any light bulbs to go on over the heads of either Immelt or Obama — or their legions of lackeys.