I read about this in USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/environment/2007-12-16-light-bulbs_N.htm), so go there for the whole story, but I’ll sum up the important stuff for you. Under the recent energy bill, “all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today’s products by 2012 to 2014. The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient.” Most fluorescent light bulbs already meet that 70% standard.
Now, I can at least understand the carbon emissions regulations put on automobiles, because that’s something that DIRECTLY affects the environment and our health, but I have to say that this part of the bill steps way too far. Congress should not be telling us which light bulbs to buy – it’s just not Congress’s place.
I must say, I heartily endorse the use of fluorescent light bulbs, though. Though they are more expensive, they are more efficient and last longer. And although I am still skeptical of the causes of global warming (the earth IS getting warmer – it’s a fact, and if you’re denying that, then you’re just plain stupid. The debate is over the cause – even the National Climatic Data Center will tell you that), I don’t see the harm in cleaning up the earth a bit. If Al Gore is wrong, then we left our kids with a cleaner planet. If Senator Inhofe is wrong, we’re in trouble (again, I still don’t see enough evidence to blame humans for rising temperatures, and even the NCDC doesn’t have enough data that they say it’s due to human activity, but why take the chance).