Tag Archives: European light bulb ban

Light bulb socialism around the world

An editorial in the Washington Times describes the reaction of consumers to the European Union’s ban on manufacturing or selling incandescent light bulbs:

Consumers realize the warm glow of a cheap incandescent is superior in every way to the deadly, mercury-filled substitute being foisted upon them. In Finland, Helsingin Sanomat reported that the new ban has not resulted in a surge of sales for the new bulbs that the bureaucrats expected. Instead, 75-watt packages have been flying off the shelves as customers filled their closets, garages and attics with lighting supplies for the long term. Such hoarding has been the rule for more than a year. London’s Daily Mail gave away 25,000 of the 100-watt bulbs as a prize in a January 2009 contest. Der Spiegel reported that German customers left hardware stores with carts jammed with enough incandescent bulbs to last 20 years.

A similar ban on incandescent light bulbs goes into effect on January 1, 2012 in the United States. Maybe there’s still time to end the madness. It worked in New Zealand:

Two years ago, New Zealanders faced an imminent ban. The National Party, at the time in the minority, made overturning the light-bulb scheme a priority in its campaign against the ruling Labor government. The public responded favorably to the party that proclaimed that it “stands for freedom, choice, independence and ambition.” In December 2008, the National Party government overturned the light-bulb ban.

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Manufacturers lie about compact fluorescent light bulbs

The European Union has admitted that compact fluorescent light bulbs aren’t as bright as traditional incandescent light bulbs, and that claims about the amount of light they produce are exaggerated, according to a report in the Telegraph:

Buyers of the main type of energy-saving bulb, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), are told on the packaging that they shine as brightly as an old-fashioned bulb. For example, an 11W CFL is labelled as being the equivalent of a 60W incandescent bulb.

However, the European Commission, which was responsible for the ban, has now conceded that this is “not true” and that such claims by manufacturers are “exaggerated”.

The Sunday Telegraph has conducted its own tests on level of illuminance provided by light bulbs from different manufacturers to see whether their claims stand up to scrutiny.

We found that under normal household conditions, using a single lamp to light a room, an 11W low-energy CFL produced only 58 per cent of the illumination of an “equivalent” 60W bulb – even after a 10-minute “warm-up”.

The whole campaign for switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs seems to be built on a series of lies.  Governments who have believed these lies and banned incandescent light bulbs are making hundreds of millions of people pay for the consequences of their stupidity.

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Euro light bulb ban rage is big news in the United States

NBC Nightly News ran a story last night on opposition to the European Union’s ban of incandescent light bulbs.

Here is a transcript:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: If you’re a fan of old-school lightbulbs – and this is the point where we point out that our parent company G.E. is pretty famous for making them, among other things, dating back to Thomas Edison himself – then you may be pretty unhappy these days with these new energy efficient lightbulbs that are in wider use. As you know, in some cases, they’re now mandatory, and they do not give off the same old glow. Europe has actually been ahead of us in the switchover, and not everyone there is happy about it. Here is NBC’s Dawna Friesen from London.

DAWNA FRIESEN: The traditional lightbulb – invented 130 years ago – it profoundly changed our world, illuminating our lives like never before. But we’ve given up gas guzzlers, learned to reuse and recycle, and soon it will be lights out on the old bulb and on with these: low-energy compact fluorescent lamps, a prospect that has some people incandescent with rage. What do you think of the new bulb?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I hate them. Yeah, okay, I hate them.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: -because you can’t read by them. They’re useless.

FRIESEN: We all know what the old bulbs are like – nice and bright. The biggest complaint about the new ones is the quality of the light just isn’t as nice, and it takes about a minute for these to get as intense as the old ones. Some people think whoever has forced us to use these is a bit of a dimwit. Simon Bencher’s family has been selling lightbulbs in London for 100 years.

SIMON BENCHER: People are concerned about being forced to do anything. I think people would rather be left to their own devices to do their bit for the environment..

FRIESEN: He’s stockpiled hundreds of the old bulbs.

BENCHER: Yesterday, alone, we sold probably close to 1,000.

FRIESEN: And across Europe, people are hoarding the old 100-watt bulbs because the European Union has banned retailers from importing any more. The cost of the new ones, about $14 apiece. “Being green is okay,” says this store manager, “but at some point, you get fed up paying so much.” They do use 80 percent less electricity and last eight to ten years. The British government estimates that if every house in the country used three low-energy lightbulbs, it would save enough power to light the nation’s streets for a year. And so, by 2012, all old bulbs will be outlawed in Europe. There’s already talk of a new agency to police bulb use. And get ready America.: You’re next. The phase out there begins in 2012, plenty of time to rage against the dying of the light. Dawna Friesen, NBC News, London.

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The great compact fluorescent light bulb hoax

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are portrayed as the savior of our planet by environmentalists.  But the European Union’s ban on using incandescent light bulbs will cut Britain’s yearly emissions of carbon dioxide by about 0.64%, according to New Scientist.  Since compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, the ban will also increase mercury pollution and expose Britons to the health risks of exposure to mercury, which is one of the most toxic substances on earth.

If you’re caught smuggling an incandescent light bulb into the European Union, you can be hit with a fine of £5000. If compact fluorescent light bulbs were really so wonderful, you wouldn’t need a government ban on their alternatives.  You wouldn’t need fines to compel people to use them.

Legislation passed by Congress in 2007 is pushing the United States down the same stupid road Europe is now traveling.  Government is telling us what kind of light bulbs we must use, exposing our families to serious health risks and exposing our environment to significant damage, and it’s all based on dubious claims from eco-nuts.

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Michael Hanlon skewers light bulb Eurobureaucrats

A columnist for the UK’s Daily Mail, Michael Hanlon explains how foolish it is for European bureaucrats to ban incandescent light bulbs:

It’s all so dispiriting — and so utterly illogical.

For while no one disputes that we must all do our bit to save energy and conserve resources, from a scientific perspective this piece of legislation is so wrong, muddle-headed and infuriating that it is hard to know where to begin.

First, banning light bulbs on eco grounds is simply greenwash — a meaningless nod to environmental correctness that will have no measurable impact on the planet whatsoever.

Supporters of the ban claim that by eliminating incandescent bulbs entirely Europe could ‘save’ as much as 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Even if that figure is correct (which is dubious to say the least) it is a mere sneeze in a hurricane compared to the four billion tonnes of CO2 produced by the EU every year.

Put simply, banning 100W bulbs while still allowing, say, aircraft to fly, cars to drive or power stations to burn coal is an exercise in pointless meddling, officiousness and bureaucracy that will save not a single polar bear….

To see why, we need to understand how these new ecobulbs work.

The most popular variety, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), are simply coiled-up fluorescent tubes, identical in the technology they use to the strip-lights that have been common in the workplace for decades.

In theory, it’s a far more energy-efficient way of producing light. While only 5 per cent of the energy drawn by a conventional bulb is actually turned into light (the rest is wasted heating the bulb), CFLs turn as much as 20 per cent of the energy they consume into light.

But there is a problem — several problems, in fact. Perhaps most seriously, some experts doubt the touted energy savings for CFLs. To work efficiently they need to be left on for long periods to allow the bulb to reach full brightness — negating any CO2 savings if light is only needed for a short time.

Replacing all the lights in a busy office or shop with CFLs may make some sense; but in the home, where lights may be needed for only a few minutes at a time, the green argument is less valid.

Then there is the important fact that CFLs are simply not very good.

The manufacturers claim that today’s generation of CFL bulbs are so good that ‘no one can tell the difference’, but this simply is not so.

Whatever it may claim on the box, CFLs simply do not give out the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb — something verified by independent tests.

For example, one consumer comparison published at the weekend showed that while traditional clear 60W bulbs provided around 120 lux of illumination the comparable CFL substitutes produced, at best, 79 lux and, at worst, just 60 lux, depending on the brand — and that was after they were given a 10-minute ‘warm up’.

You have probably experience this at home yourselves. I know I have.

Turning on the CFL ‘light’ above our dining table is a process now described in sarcastic terms not as switching the light on but ‘switching the dark on’.

Small wonder, then, that CFLs are despised by those, such as artists and illustrators, whose job depends on a good quality of light.

What’s worse, the new bulbs work badly in cold weather, usually do not work at all with dimmer switches (though there now are expensive versions which do) and simply do not fit into many existing light fittings.

Then there are the potential health risks: the small amount of mercury vapour contained in each CFL bulb is toxic.

And many people claim that the high-frequency ‘flickering’ of these eco-bulbs gives them headaches, exacerbates skin conditions and can trigger epileptic fits.

Even if we accept that some of these risks have been exaggerated, it seems strange suddenly to force people to use a product about which so many consumers are unhappy….

Replacing a perfectly good technology with one that is far more expensive, of dubious environmental merit and that simply does not work as well as the old one is an extraordinary retrograde step.

Shoppers all over the European Union are stocking up on incandescent light bulbs while they’re still available, clearing the shelves in stores across the continent.

Similar madness is coming to the United States, but it’s not too late to reverse course.  Send your used compact fluorescent light bulbs to your Congressman or Senator in Washington, along with a note telling them you think they should repeal the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs.

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