How many politicians does it take to change a lightbulb?

02.01.07 | Comment?

In California, the answer is 1.

Garden variety compact fluorescent light bulb

Yesterday it was widely reported in local media that Assemblyman Lloyd Levine has proposed a bill to outlaw the sale of incandescent lightbulbs in California after 2012. Instead of the traditional incandescent bulb invented by Edison and improved thereafter; compact fluorescent and led bulbs would take their place. These newer technologies provide up to 75% energy savings for equivalent lumens.

The downside is that each bulb costs more upfront than incandescent counterparts, but the upside is that over the lifespan of the bulbs the energy savings coupled with their longevity will provide payback many times over. An additional criticism of the new technologies is that the emitted light is “harsher” than incandescent bulbs. When electric bulbs were introduced 130 years ago, arc-lights were harsh, incandescent bulbs to “soft”, and gas lights were stinky, dangerous, and dim. Technological progress has a way of dealing with each challenge over time.

While I hate to see government intrude in our lives with legislation over how we choose to light our homes and businesses, natural market forces are taking too long to force this change. This is probably a good thing for both eco-s, ecology and economics.

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