Friday, April 10, 2009

Defending dead end technology as usual

Myron Ebell called in by NBC TV to defend out-of-date light-bulb technology with the usual set of lies about mercury pollution (he does not care when it's discharged from coal power stations) and lies about the effectiveness of government regulation with some bogus nonsense about having to pay money for up-to-standard washing machines.

There are better examples of government not getting enough involved between consumers and product, which NBC well knows about, such as when millions of childrens toys were manufactured with lead in them. Why don't they remind people of that, instead of making their audience listen to this harmful Myron Ebell bollocks?

Transcript follows:
First of all I have nothing against compact flourescent light bulbs. In fact I have a bunch of them in my house after our local power company raised their rates 39%. But there are plusses and minusses to these energy saving bulbs as there are to incandescent bulbs.

For example, I am very surprised that an environmental group that has waged war on Mercury in our environment would be so enthusiastic about compact flourescent lightbulbs.

I have here [waves some stupid paper] the EPA has long instructions about what to do if one of your compact flourescent light bulbs breaks. And they're very complicated, and it's not easy to actually do what they want you to do. You have to go to a lot of steps. You have to wear gloves. Air out the room. Don't use a vacuum cleaner. Put it in double bag it because...

Now look. Incandescent bulbs are very cheap and they use more energy. But for example when I replace bulbs in my house I put flourescent bulbs in the places where they are appropriate, and I didn't for example put them in places where I hardly ever turn on the light. It does just as well if I only turn it on for an hour or two a year than a $4 bulb.

Another example is that some places these bulbs don't work. For example, I've had very short life expectancy on some of these bulbs because they don't like rapid changes in temperature.


Q: Myron, is it that you are resistant to a government mandate of them?

Myron: Yes, I don't think there's a good track record for government mandates. If these bulbs are so superior, and they save so much money, then consumers will choose them, and you can see that more and more of them are being sold. Why should we restrict consumer choice?

The government has a very poor record on these mandates. For example, new washing machine standards went into effect at the beginning of this year. Consumer Reports reported on these new models that unless you can spend close to $1000 on a new washing machine, you cannot buy one. There is no model available that will actually get your clothes clean and not have to wash your clothes 2 or 3 times.

So I think you can see that when government gets involved between consumers and product, it often leads to very unfortunate and unintended outcomes.

It's much better to let consumers choose. And if this is a better technology, it will succeed.


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