Prove Lightbulb Ban is Good for the Environment

May 28th, 2007

Today’s Sun has an article by Tom Harris and Dr. Tim Ball called Prove it! that challenges an assumption that’s become near and dear to my heart: compact fluorescent light bulbs are better for the environment than incandescent:

Prove it! That’s how we must respond whenever governments ban established products to “save the planet.” If politicians can’t validate their schemes with comprehensive and unbiased scientific studies then they should stop telling us how to live our lives.

Take the recently announced ban on incandescent light bulbs. The federal government’s “Action on Climate Change and Air Pollution” boasts the ban “will give Canadian consumers real opportunity both to save money on energy and to help clean up our environment.” Prove it!

Show us the results of comprehensive life cycle analysis that demonstrate the energy savings accrued when operating a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) more than compensates for the increased manufacturing and mercury disposal impacts associated with CFLs. Prove to us that the loss of convenience and light quality of the incandescent is off-set by a significant net environmental benefit. Or many Canadians will conclude the move was purely political, designed to look good in the press and trump the NDP who had a private members’ bill banning incandescents in the works.

And when studying this, don’t forget to take into account the impact of driving your burnt out bulbs to the landfill. The more I read up on CFB’s (compact fluorescent bulbs), the dumber the idea of banning them looks.

Instead of handing more regulatory power to the “pimply minions of bureaucracy,” any attempt to regulate Canadians lives, whether large scale or in the minutiae like CFBs, ought to require absolute proof of it’s necessity, and that the scheme will work as advertised.


freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, Global Warming, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment, pimply minions of bureaucracy

  1. Mark Dowling
    May 28th, 2007 at 12:50 | #1

    A friend of mine asked me about replacing incandescents with CFLs recently. My advice was to change the most used bulbs only.

    I have not changed my porch light (due to CFL performance in winter) or my basement lights (turned on for 10 mins a week) but my living room, dining room, office, bathroom, bedroom lights are CFL. I have stored some displaced incandescents to replace any burnouts of the less used units.

  2. Richard Evans
    May 30th, 2007 at 16:58 | #2

    Ever seen the guts of one of those things? They’re jam-packed with electronics:

    You’re right. They need to prove to us simple peasants that there’ll be an actual benefit.

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