NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 27, 2007

Cars aren't the only thing forced to become more efficient in the new energy bill.  Congress, in its finite wisdom, has decided that Thomas Edison is to blame for global warming, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).


  • The bill bans the incandescent light bulb by 2014 with the phase-out beginning with the 100-watt bulb by 2012 and ending in 2014 with the 40-watt.
  • By 2014, light bulbs must use 25 percent to 30 percent less electricity; by 2020, 70 percent less.

Congress wants to switch to the new compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, which last up to five years and use 75 percent less energy.  This push for efficiency is fine, but the switch to CFLs should be consumer-driven, not mandated, says IBD.  Consider another mandated energy efficiency plan:

  • Since corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards were instituted in the 1970's, fuel economy has increased, but so have the miles people drive.
  • CAFE just forced Americans into smaller, less-safe cars, resulting in more traffic deaths.
  • Steven Milloy of reckons that, based on increased fatalities and alleged fuel savings, a human life is now valued at 100,000 barrels of oil.

Like CAFE standards, CFLs pose their own safety problem, says IBD:

  • Each CFL bulbs contains about 5 milligrams of mercury, a substance described by environmentalists as among the most toxic of substances.
  • They must be disposed of properly and can't simply be tossed when they burn out.

Overall, the potential environmental hazard created by the mandated introduction of billions of CFLs in the next decade or so -- with few disposal sites and the public largely unaware of the hazards -- is great, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Dim Bulbs In D.C." Investor's Business Daily, December 21, 2007.


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