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The Real Green Light Bulb

by Community Manager on ‎12-19-2013 01:48 PM - last edited on ‎09-25-2014 11:52 AM by

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 gapof 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.