Under a 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush, the United States. was poised to cut energy use and climate pollution equivalent to 17 million cars by retiring the incandescent light bulb. Last week, Congress blocked those regulations from going into effect as planned next month by inserting language into the spending bill that averted a federal government shutdown on Friday.
While Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) referred to the rider as “another poke in the eye” and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) credited the postponement of efficiency standards to “…the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign,” the rider only preserves the 100-watt incandescent temporarily, until October 2012.
According to The Wilderness Society, the irony of defending the 135-year-old incandescent technology is that light bulb manufacturers supported the new regulations. Consumers could have saved $15.8 billion in energy costs annually by full adoption of the new, more efficient, but still incandescent, bulbs the industry has introduced.
“In the real world, outside talk radio’s echo chamber, lighting manufacturers such as GE, Philips and Sylvania have tooled up to produce new incandescent light bulbs that look and operate exactly the same as old incandescent bulbs, and give off just as much warm light,” Republicans for Environmental Protection Policy Director Jim DiPeso told Politico. “The only difference is they produce less excess heat and are therefore 30 percent more efficient. Same light, lower energy bills. What’s not to like?”
Whatever the presidential campaign about the light bulb uprising out there, most American’s actually support efficiency standards, with 61% regarding them favorably according to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll. “Of those surveyed, 71%, said they have replaced standard light bulbs in their home with more efficient options, and 84% said they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the alternatives,” the paper reported.