If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Incandescents: The Real Green Bulbs
Also in Canada

As the Canadian comment process finishes, as an American incandescent ban largely finishes on January 1, and as the EU review process also seems to have concluded in its first phase, some concluding remarks to the last series of posts seems apt.

The ban, not just on light bulbs but on much else in society, is largely driven by 2 aspects, supposed savings and product progress. Both have been well covered, but product progress deserves extra mention in an overall conclusion.

Product progress?
Product progress arises from increased, not decreased, market competition.
Energy saving progress in particular has been continuous throughout history.
Fluorescents and LEDs? On the market, without bans.
Solid state transistors replacing incandescent tubes? On the market, without bans.

Light bulb manufacturers could themselves simply stop making the "terrible incandescents".
That's what the very same companies normally do in the name of progress, they already stopped making cassettes, video cartridges, 8-track systems and much else.
Certainly they got - and get - lots of taxpayer subsidy goodies to make alternative bulbs while still slapping their own patents on them for yet more profit, and certainly politicians feel obliged to further help out their subsidised buddies sell more bulbs (as the Canadian proposal says, in so many words, in justifying bans because of committed investments).

The supposed problem is therefore that idiot citizens choose not to replace all their existing bulbs with the pushed alternatives, disregarding that most citizens - as the ban brigade keep saying - indeed have bought some for the advantages that they of course also have.

Of course, politicians don't want to declare their voting citizens to be idiots in what they choose to buy. Not openly, anyway. So the roundabout talk is that
"Regulations force faster development of better new products":
"Better" always being energy saving in usage with disregard to all else, including overall savings.
Obviously by necessity this brings new alternatives, but it is development that aims to fill the gap of popular incandescents - look at all the LED incandescent bulb clones. Hardly true or exciting progress.
As said, intrinsic advantages are of incandescents as bulbs, fluorescents as tubes, and LEDs as sheets, and was the original development of the latter 2 products, before all the push to compromise them as bulbs (yes, still with advantages of their own technology, but hardly developed as such now in bulb format, eg the flexible color temperatures of RGB LEDs rather than White LED bulbs).

A further issue is that regulation cut off standards don't just ban what exists. It bans all that could have existed, and never will, despite possible advantages beyond consumption of energy in usage. This, as with all else, is the case not just with light bulbs in the worldwide totalitarian definition of progress.

Everyone can have different legitimate views of the necessity of targeting products to save energy.
But what is then surprising is the complete lack of analysis of alternative policies.
Politicans? Media? Total silence.

Alternative information, taxation, market policies as thoroughly covered in the last post.
As the most fervent political, media and lobby grouped ban supporters tend to have a green or left-wing persuasion, the avoidance of all consideration of taxation is particularly puzzling. Even a mid-size 35 million country like Canada has well over 100 million in relevant sales, while in pre-ban USA and EU it runs into 2 billion sales in each case, of a cheap easily taxable product with high turnover, that could help all the " public spend" measures these people want.
In the USA, the California government is bankrupt - yet, like Canadian British Columbia, they ban every product in sight, instead of taxing it, and could of course announce it as subsidising cheaper alternatives re any "we hate tax" issue.
The point is not that tax is good. The point is that it is arguably better than bans for those who favor bans, while the market stimulation alternative is still better on the argumentation given, if light bulb targeting is (dubiously) deemed necessary.

So, to turn it all around.
Green is a color with many hues!

The case for looking at incandescents as the true environmentally friendly bulbs has been made earlier here.

That can be expanded on, and also put into a Canadian context, given the last series of posts here. The following is based on section 10 of the reply to the Canadian proposal for January 1 regulations on light bulbs, but as seen, it is generally applicable everywhere...

M'Lords and Ladies, the case for the humble simple incandescent light bulb:

Certainly efficient, in making bright light using few components

Earth Saving?
Certainly sparing the earth much mining for minerals

Long Lasting?
Certainly they can last long, at least to 20,000 hours at low price, as shown by mentioned small manufacturers, when major manufacturers don't control the markets.

Certainly sustainable, in being easily locally made generic patent-free bulbs,
without much transport of parts or product, and without needing recycling.

Incandescents don't burn coal and they don't give out CO2 or other emissions.
Power plants might - and might not.
If there is a Problem - deal with the Problem.

Electrical products are only indirectly coupled to any energy source use, and in turn, the main evening-night time use of incandescent bulbs really only consume small amounts of off-peak surplus capacity electricity anyway, as seen.

Power plant emissions are decreasing on present policies, both from alternative source use and in directly being reduced and treated in various ways. Small overall off-peak bulb use and coal power plant night cycle operational factors reduces if not eliminates supposed bulb ban emission savings, and in a country like Canada of 86% emission-free electricity a ban even increases emissions on the heat replacement effect.

Incandescent light bulbs:
A pointless very visual feel-good target for an agenda driven ban seeking to ensure that the world loses the simplest cheapest product it ever had to produce light from electricity,
an aesthetically pleasing versatile invention, whose doom would arise not from being unpopular, but from being popular, through the stupidity that passes for global governance.

How Regulations are Wrongly Justified
14 points, referenced:
Includes why the overall society savings aren't there, and even if they were, why alternative policies are better, including alternative policies that target light bulbs.

1 comment:

Bryan Johnson said...

Thanks for updating us with this nice and relevant information as we are also working with LED bulb. So this info. will be very helpful for me.

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