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They’re unwanted in Cuba, Hugo Chavez is trying to kick them out of Venezuela, Australia and Canada are on timetables to get rid of them, the European Union says they soon simply won’t be available and now the U.S. is considering new rules that effectively would ban the incandescent light bulb.
It’s a global sweep so far, triggered by worries that the invention of Thomas Edison uses too much energy or generates too much heat for the earth to tolerate, despite the reports by WND that a member of a congressional committee is challenging the “facts” used by Al Gore in his “An Inconvenient Truth” movie, saying science just doesn’t validate concerns that such factors are significant environmentally.
Now the avalanche of new bans may be hard to slow down. In a report in the Times Online, officials said directives from the European Union soon will force manufacturers to produce more efficient bulbs in greater numbers.
“We expect that legally binding eco-standards will be set for energy efficiency and therefore gradually you would only be able to buy those light bulbs that meet the target. So effectively it would phase out the inefficient ones,” the official said.
The ban plans already are being implemented in some nations, and in the United States, though it hasn’t been enacted nationally yet, several states are well on their way toward such bans, including trend-setting California as well as Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island.
In North Carolina, Rep. Pricey Harrison has suggested a statewide ban starting in 2016 on the sale of incandescent bulbs.
Even local governments are getting into the act. In New York state, a Westchester County plan would ban all incandescents from being used in county facilities at the end of this year, and ban the sale of such bulbs countywide at the end of 2009.
“Most of us go through the day in the dark about how our individual habits contribute to global warming,” said county legislator Martin Rogowsky. “We need to turn on the light, so to speak, in all of us and get to the point where everyone is aware that simple, painless measures, like switching what kind of light bulb you use, are the kinds of battles that will win the warn on global warming.”
“This legislation is an important step toward making every home, business and public building in America more energy efficient,” U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said in announcing her proposed national ban. “Most of us still use the same glass and filament bulbs that Thomas Edison invented 128 years ago. When it comes to illumination, we still live in a cave.”
Her plan technically would ban the sale of any light bulb that fails to meet the standards set by current fluorescent bulbs, but the opinion is nearly unanimous that those targeted would be incandescent bulbs.
It also creates an increasingly higher standard of lumens per watt of illumination for coming years.
It is part of the effort to counter the dire forecasts made by former Vice President Al Gore and others that unless something changes, global warming will melt icecaps and raise ocean levels, drowning out lives and habitat.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, has said, however, that the “facts” used in Gore’s film simply are not supported by science, and if Gore’s plan would be followed specifically, there would be no new businesses, cars or even people allowed in the United States.
“You just gave us an idea for a straight CO2 freeze, if I heard you correctly. I think that’s an idea that’s flawed. If you take that literally, we can add no new industry, nor new cars and trucks on our streets, and apparently no new people,” Barton, who represents the 6th District in Texas, told Gore at a congressional hearing. “People are mobile-source emitters. Every person emits 0.2 tons of CO2 a year, so an absolute true freeze would be no new industry, no new people, and no new cars.”
Gore has called such warming “a crisis that is by far the most serious we’ve faced,” and described it as “a true planetary emergency.”
U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.
Harman, who serves on the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Air Quality, said ordinary incandescent light bulbs now generate about 12-15 lumens per watt, but her plan would require all bulbs sold to generate at least 60 lumens per watt, which she said is about the level of output for today’s fluorescent bulbs.
By 2016 that level would be raised to 90 lumens per watt, and by 2020, the minimum would be set at 120 lumens, she said.
“Using this standard – create in consultation with technical experts in the environmental community, architects, engineers, and others – the bill does not discriminate against any bulb type or technological composition,” said Harman’s announcement. “But it does create a standard that makes sense for the market, for the environment, and for America’s energy future.”
“We must change the way we consume and produce energy in this country. Sometimes the most effective, accessible ideas are the smallest. One small change that everyone can make is as simple as changing a light bulb,” Harman said.
She noted the plan does include exemptions for circumstances in the military, medical or public safety fields where other lighting would be needed.
“But these would be small exceptions rather than the rule,” she said. In such cases, someone selling such a bulb would be required to seek a waiver and have it approved by a Department of Energy panel, and those waivers would be good only for two years, “pushing the market toward more innovation,” she noted.
She said at the present, only 10 percent of the power used by incandescent bulbs is turned into light, with 90 percent being released as heat. And she said a typical 60 watt bulb lasts up to 1,000 hours, while many fluorescent bulbs can last up to 10 times longer.
“The continued widespread use of incandescent lighting results in low overall efficiency, high energy costs and output, and in the end, tons and tons of harmful carbon emissions,” her announcement said. “According to the Department of Energy, one energy efficient bulb can prevent the release of over 450 pounds of greenhouse gases.”
U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., also has said the bills Americans have to pay for electricity would drop dramatically if everyone just switched to the more energy efficient light bulbs.
He said the inefficient bulbs would be replaced with fluorescent lamps, halogen lamps, or light-emitting diode lamps.
“In these times of rising energy prices, Americans can dramatically lower their electric bills simply by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs,” said Manzullo, “This change can reap significant money savings while reducing our energy use and cleaning our environment.”
He estimated the actual energy demand reductions would save consumers and business owners about $18 billion annually, and the annual energy demand for lighting would drop by the equivalent of the generation from 30 nuclear power plants or 60 coal burning power plants.
Harman called her plan a “first step” toward making America more energy-efficient.
“This legislation, while a small step, could have an enormous impact. And hopefully, it can help transform American into an energy-efficient and energy-independent nation,” she said.
One United Kingdom consumer, however, said there will be difficulties:
“If we all start using eco bulbs then I suggest we all start using night vision goggles, because the eco bulbs are useless,” wrote Peter H., from London. “The box told me that it gave out the same level of light. The box was WRONG. I tried them. The bulbs were terrible, I could barely see to the other side of the room.
“It could save you money on your bills but you would spend the rest off (sic) your life in and out of hospital because you don’t have fluorescent walls and furniture,” he continued. “Save yourself a trip to the hospital, use normal bulbs.
Among the plans being developed, too, there is no mention of how to handle the mercury from old fluorescent bulbs. Mercury, a highly persistent and toxic chemical, can build up to dangerous concentrations in fish, wildlife, and human beings.
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Editor’s note: The current global warming frenzy is exposed as never before in the March edition of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, in an issue titled, HYSTERIA: Exposing the secret agenda behind today’s obsession with global warming.”