Monday, September 07, 2009

Let there be light!

So here we are, about to plunge headlong into an era of Darkness, created by the EU in its bid to shrink our carbon footprint. Yes that's right, darkness caused by "NO LIGHT BULBS"" First it was the humble bayonet fitting 40/60 ands 100 Watt bulbs that were replaced by the hideous mercury laden "low energy bulbs". Next it is spotlights, downlights and bulbs that focus light into one spot, none of which have been emulated by a "Low energy" replacement.
Let us examine the idea of the "low energy bulb". Its food equivalent is the "low calorie crisp". You know, the ones on the supermarket shelves branded, new lower in fat!, lower in polyunsaturates and "now only 100 calories a bag". Like the lightbulb, statements which are a con. Lower in fat by 30% because there is 30% less in the bag, lower in salt by 30% because there is 30% less in the bag...and so on! Just like the low energy bulb, uses less energy because it produces less light, uses less energy because it takes so long to warm up, you have turned the fu**ing thing off, because you have lost the will to live and lit a bloody candle!

Then there is the mercury, yes that's right, no mercury in filament bulbs, just inert gas and a filament, easy peasy. Our low energy bulbs however, are a different ball game. They contain a plethora of contaminants, worst of which is mercury. Even the dept of the Environment have published the following advice if you break one...

Official advice from the Department of the Environment states that if a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes.

A vacuum cleaner should not be used to clear up the debris, and care should be taken not to inhale the dust.

Instead, rubber gloves should be used, and the broken bulb put into a sealed plastic bag - which should be taken to the local council for disposal.

Unbroken used bulbs can be taken back to the retailer if the owner is a member of the Distributor Takeback Scheme.

Otherwise, many local waste disposal sites now have the facilities to safely collect and dispose of old bulbs.

However, this advice is not printed on the packaging that low-energy bulbs are sold in.

Hows that then, we have been sold a "pup" by the EU, a bulb that produces less light, contains more poisons, possibly causes migraines and eye strain, but will make our carbon footprint smaller!

Superb, all this from an organisation which moves its entire bureaucratic juggernaut across Europe every year. Produces a "Rain forest" worth of paperwork every year and oversees its member states"rape of the worlds minerals and resources" to feed its voracious appetite for products to fuel its wheels of commerce.

Pot kettle and black spring to mind!

When will this madness cease, when will we pull out of this insidious organisation and go our own way, before we are torn asunder!


Panta Rei said...

If you want to know more about the strange and unpublicised politics behind this ban see

Yes Ian, there certainly is a basic lack of logic
to this ban
- even if you agree with energy and emission saving objectives.

A ban on light bulbs is extraordinary, in being on a product safe to use.
We are not talking about banning lead paint here
(and light bulbs don't give out CO2 gas - power stations do!)

Oddly, as you say, the bulb that might normally be banned (or at least more warned about) is proposed as the replacement!

Simple, cheap safe is dumped in favour of complex, expensive and
mercury releasing.

politicians think one light is as good as another, so an efficient light must be better.
This is of course wrong - or no inefficient lights (or other products) would be sold
Bright broad spectrum light quality
along with small size availability, easy dimmability and use with sensors, quick response in the cols and, for that matter, heat that is not necessarily a waste in temperate climates make up for inefficint disadvantage.
"Halogens will be allowed blerat the politicians, at the samer time banning the frosted non-glare ceiling lamps that overwhelmingly people prefer.

Europeans, like Americans, choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10 (light industry data 2007-8)
Banning what people want gives the supposed savings that's good for them - no point in banning an impopular product!

If new LED lights -or improved CFLs- are good,
people will buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
If they are not good, people will not buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).

The arrival of the transistor didn't mean that more energy using radio tubes were banned... they were bought less anyway.

Supposed savings don't actually hold up, for many reasons:
( onwards
about brightness, lifespan, power factor, lifecycle, heat effect of ordinary bulbs, and other referenced research)

Panta Rei said...


Effect on Electricity Bills
If energy use does indeed fall with light bulb and other proposed efficiency bans,
electricity companies make less money,
and they’ll simply push up the electricity bills to compensate
(especially since power companies often have their own grids with little supply competition)
Energy regulators can hardly deny any such cost covering exercise...

There is no shortage of energy.
People -not politicians – pay for energy use, and if there was an energy shortage, the price rise would lead to more demand for efficient products anyway – no need to legislate for it.

Does a light bulb give out any gases?
Power stations might not either:
Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
Low emission households already dominate some regions, and will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology and/or energy substitution.

A direct way to deal with emissions (for all else they contain too, whatever about CO2):

The Taxation alternative
As said, ban on light bulbs is extraordinary, in being on a product safe to use.
We are not talking about banning lead paint here.

This is simply a ban to reduce the amount of electricity consumption.

Even for those who remain pro-ban, taxation to reduce consumption would therefore make much more sense, also since governments can use the income to reduce emissions (home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc) more than any remaining product use causes such problems.

A few pounds/euros/dollars light bulb tax that reduces the current sales (EU like the USA 2 billion sales per annum, UK 250-300 million pa)
raises future billions, and would retain consumer choice.
It could also be revenue neutral, lowering any sales tax on efficient products.

However, taxation is itself unjustified, it is simply preferable to bans for all concerned.

Of course a ban is under way, but supposedly with reviews along the linr of the phase out process, according to the EU banning documentation.
Maybe some clown in Brussels will see sense. Maybe not.

Panta Rei said...


The man responsible for the ban,
EU Energy Commisioner Piebalgs,
is now responding to protests,
defending his ban on his blog
by saying it "increases choice"….

Ah, that makes it alright then!

See his blog entry
and comments...
and add your own ;-)