Monday, May 07, 2007

Uninformed Environmentalism

I'm not sure why this is just hitting the presses, but Jane Harman (D-CA) introduced a bill in March that is designed to ban incandescent light bulbs for sale almost anywhere in this country. (bill text)

Now, I am all for the use of CFL lamps, so long as all color temperatures are offered. (On a recent trip to Home Depot looking for a T8 "tube", I found a dazzling selection of exactly one color, 3000K, a more reddish light than I prefer. Color selection for CFLs is slightly better, but not great.) But this technology needs to continue to evolve on its own. It certainly does not need government to force it upon us if it is the godsend it is described to be.

But my main concern with Ms. Harman's bill is the sheer ignorance that she and her staff have about replacement technology for incandescent lamps. Her initial restriction that all light bulbs must have an efficacy of more than 60 lumens per watt pretty much shuts the door on most LED lamps currently available as well. Since LEDs have a much smaller wattage than even CFL lamps, they would be even better for the environment, but since they don't have the lumens per watt that Ms. Harman desires, they're out. (The restriction rises to 90 lumens per watt in 2016 and 120 lumens per watt in 2020.) Simply google "LED light bulb" and see for yourself just how small the wattages could become, if this lamps are allowed to continue to be sold.

Ms. Harman's bill is simply not good legislation...especially for true environmentalists.