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Energy Efficiency

Published on September 5th, 2019 | by Steve Hanley

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Donnie Dim Bulb Channels David Koch To Save The Incandescent Light Bulb

September 5th, 2019 by  


The late David Koch and his brother Charles are largely responsible for the decades long assault on government regulation that propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House. According to the trope funded by the Kochs and their obedient minions, every government regulation is bad for business and an affront to the Constitution.

Image by Carolyn Fortuna

According to them, the only check on corporate power should be whether or not they make money. Even if their actions kill and maim millions of people, that’s OK as long as they are profitable. Their philosophy has brought us a government awash in corporate money thanks to Citizens United. Due to the shadowy influence of vice president Pence, the current president has appointed die-hard Koch acolytes to every agency, commission, and board in existence, each with a mission to take a sledgehammer to any and all government regulation.

Whee! Let’s Increase Methane Emissions

Last week, the government announced it wants to roll back regulations on methane emissions — a proposal so egregiously stupid that even the natural gas industry opposes it. According to Grist, “The proposed standards would no longer require new natural gas wells, pipelines, and storage facilities to detect and limit leaking methane, the primary component of natural gas which packs at least 25 times the atmosphere-warming power of carbon dioxide.”

The oil majors like Shell and ExxonMobil oppose the new plan. At the present time, about 2% of all methane escapes into the atmosphere. Shell’s Gretchen Watkins, president of its US division, has acknowledged that methane leaks are “a big part of the climate problem, and frankly we can do more.” Last week, she announced Shell plans to reduce methane leaks from its own global operations to less than 0.2% by 2025. In fact, more than 60 companies have pledged to curb methane emissions independent of government regulations.

Complying with the stricter regulations would cost the industry no more than $20 million a year (and give them more methane to sell). Are these giant corporations really worried about a measly 20 mil? No, but the small drilling companies at the heart of the fracking boom are. They insist the regulations would put them out of business and so they have lobbied intensely to kill the rules even if that means killing their own customers.

In the checkbook democracy rampant in the US today, a few million spent on lobbying efforts can return hundreds of millions in profits.  The way the world according to Koch is set up, any company would be foolish not reap such outsized rewards.

Save The Light Bulb!

 

Incandescent light bulbs

Credit: Westinghouse

The latest lunacy from the former coal lobbyist now running the EPA is a proposal to eliminate a regulation scheduled to go into effect next year that would halt the sale of virtually all incandescent light bulbs in the United States and replace them with more energy efficient compact fluorescent and LED bulbs. The push to switch to CFLs and LEDs actually began back in Bush Lite administration and was made law by Congress in 2007.

According to a report by the Washington Post, the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates eliminating all the archaic incandescent bulbs in America would save enough electricity to power every home in Pennsylvania and New Jersey — equivalent to the output from 25 large generating facilities.

Noah Horowitz, director of the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards at NRDC said, “We will explore all options, including litigation, to stop this completely misguided and unlawful action.” He said regulation remains necessary. “Energy-wasting incandescents and halogens still make up more than a third of new bulb sales.”

But staying true to the lies spun by David Koch and his brother, the EPA now says keeping old fashioned light bulbs around a little longer will save Americans money, because, you know, God forbid people should have to make even the tiniest sacrifice to prevent an existential climate crisis. Not only that, it is another blow to those hated federal regulations, something the Kochs have devoted their entire lives to destroying.

“The Energy Department flat out got it wrong today,” said Jason Hartke, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit coalition of business and environmental groups. Calling the move an “unforced error,” he said, “Wasting energy with inefficient light bulbs isn’t just costly for homes and businesses, it’s terrible for our climate.”

Shaylyn Hynes, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy, said the law requires the department to issue standards “only when doing so would be economically justified. These standards are not.” She added that the administration’s action “will ensure that the choice of how to light homes and businesses is left to the American people, not the federal government.” The Bellowing Buffoon couldn’t be happier.

Yup, the government has no business picking winners and losers when it comes to light bulb manufacturing, Shaylyn. Your parents must be very proud. Meanwhile, manufacturers of traditional light bulbs are cheering. Do you think they may have spread some campaign cash around to accomplish this homage to the magic of free enterprise? “Oh, you betcha,” as Louis Rukeyser was fond of saying.

Is there a way to prevent such idiocy and incompetence by the federal government? Yes, there is. Vote these industry shills and their enablers out of office at the earliest opportunity. The country you save could be your own! 
 
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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.



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