Not The Brightest Bulbs

The American Thinker has a great piece on why Congress’ attempt to ban incandescent lightbulbs is a dim-bulb idea:

Energy conservation lobbyists conveniently overlook the obvious fact that household lightbulbs are primarily used at night-exactly opposite the time of day in which utilities experience peak load demands for daytime heating, air conditioning and commercial lighting. Peak load shedding is what is most necessary for taking coal fired power plants out of commission.

Reducing nighttime lightbulb consumption of kwhs will do almost nothing to shave peak demand. Moreover, with non-peak kwhs reduced at night, utilities will now have fewer revenues on which to earn a return on their invested capital. Utilities must build up their physical plant to meet the peaks, and the capital to finance that equipment has to be paid for 24 hours a day. Thus, utilities will have to raise rates on the remainder of the kwhs we use for everything else, from washing machines to hair dryers to computers.

Household power used by lightbulbs is actually dwarfed these days by major appliances and high tech consumer electronics- such as wide screen TVs, computers and video games along with internet servers, the biggest energy hogs besides cars and trucks.

This is yet another example of how environmentalist hysteria is overwhelming common sense. Such measures as “carbon credits” and mandating the use of compact fluorescent bulbs are examples of environmental policymaking that benefit the noblesse obligé of the wealthy environmentalist while penalizing the rest of the the country.

If Congress were serious about truly reducing America’s carbon footprint they’d be investing heavily in safe nuclear technologies which can actually meet our energy needs without belching more and more pollutants into the atmosphere. Instead, what we’re getting are policies designed to placate environmentalist interest groups that will make the cost of electricity prohibitively expensive without actually making things better.

What we have in our environmental policy is an example of a decision-making process run by activist groups pursuing an agenda rather than policymakers making rational decisions about which policies will produce the best results — an endemic problem in Washington. Environmentalist groups don’t care about the costs of electricity because they have a neo-Luddite streak that is perfectly content with reducing the standard of living for millions of Americans. Their singular focus is on “saving the planet” (making themselves feel important in the process) rather than what the practical consequences of their crusade really are.

We deserve better than this. A sane energy policy isn’t about token concessions and half-assed public policy. It’s about assessing our needs and working on better ways of meeting them — and mandating the use of Chinese-made, mercury filled CFLs is not at all a sound policy.