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Plasma TV for the Super Bowl? You’re Contributing to Global Warming

Plasma TV for the Super Bowl? You’re Contributing to Global Warming

True confession: I love sports. And I especially love watching big games on even bigger TVs.

Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend, and I–along with millions of other Americans–will be watching the game. But my enthusiasm for seeking out a nice plasma TV on which to view the game has lessened this year: The big-screen behemoths will likely be banned across Europe this year because they use too much energy.

Traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions consume energy, to be sure, but nothing on the scale of plasma TVs. Reports Britain’s The Independent: “A big plasma model could use four times as much electricity and be responsible for the emission of four times as much carbon dioxide as the biggest CRT; they now account for twice as much as a fridge-freezer.”

Their contribution to global warming is so bad that the European Union is planning to ban the worst offenders by setting minimum energy performance standards for all televisions sold in the E.U. They also are planning to start a compulsory labeling system that indicates the energy usage of each model, giving consumers the ability to easily determine the energy efficiency of a television when shopping around.

California is going a step farther. The California Energy Commission recently drafted regulations that would ban the sale of energy-guzzling TVs in a phased format from 2011 to 2013. And the reasons why–according to the L.A. Times–are scary:

During a peak viewing time when most sets are on, such as the Super Bowl, TVs in the state collectively suck up the equivalent of 40% of the power generated by the San Onofre nuclear power station running at full capacity. Televisions account for about 10% of the average Californian’s monthly household electricity bill.

If the 10 percent figure doesn’t scare you enough, consider this stat from The Independent: “In the U.S., 275 million televisions gobble up as much electricity as is produced by 10 coal-fired power stations.” Now that’s a contribution to global warming.

It’s especially important to think about the energy efficiency of plasma TVs around event like the Super Bowl; the game is second only to the holiday season as the biggest driver for consumer interest in big-screen TVs. Indeed, according to stats from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a whopping 2.6 million consumers–that’s 2.7 percent of adults in the U.S.–will purchase a new television on which to watch the Super Bowl. While it’s down from the 3.9 million last year, that’s still a lot of expensive televisions to be sold in such economic times.

And it means that those energy regulations can’t come fast enough for the environment. If you’re responsible for purchasing any of the 33 million flat-screen TV sets anticipated to be sold this year, I urge you to consider the environmental impact of its energy use. Many LCD models use much less energy than their plasma cousins, without much difference in picture quality.

I know I’ll be seeking out an energy efficient model as I cheer on the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. Will you?

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Photo by szeretlek_ma, licensed under Creative Commons.

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40 comments

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1:22PM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Well, I still don't own a plasma TV, nor do I wish to. However, I do have three grand daughters, [24, 22 & 8] and two great grand daughters [3 & 1] and they are all doing fine. But playing Russian Roulette? Oh, come on now! I'm just an everyday citizen, late seventies, keeping my nose clean, but with an enquiring mind... which never did anyone any harm. If you must, [and I wish you wouldn't], throw your accusations at much bigger fish... The world is a circle.

12:17PM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Thank you.

12:16PM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Thank you.

10:13PM PST on Feb 17, 2009

David White, I do not have the proof you are looking for, (I am a musician, not a specialist in the field) nor do you have proof for your side. I guess we will simply disagree.
Just know that my findings are not based on one movie (or one book or one website, for that matter) as you keep insinuating.
PS: A question: do you have children or children in your life that you care about? Because if you do, then you are playing russian roulette with their futures.

2:21AM PST on Feb 14, 2009

Mollie asks: 'what if I am wrong and the hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world are right?'
My answer: The world is a circle and what goes around comes around. For all those 'hundreds of thousands of scientists', thankfully there are just as many scientists who are not taken in by Gore's [purely political] hype and rhetoric. They ask one simple question. Prove it. So far, such incontrovertible proof has not been forthcoming. I say again, we are not responsible, it's simply a world cycle. That is my belief, shared by very many intelligent people who refuse to be 'taken in'. As human beings we e all have the ability to debate, though being branded as loonies by the lentil brigade is counter-productive. Proof, please.

10:04AM PST on Jan 31, 2009

Hey Kumba, is it just because you are from some other part of the world that you think you can get away with destroying the world without guilt while the "whiteman" will take all the guilt for you?I do not own a plasma because I have'nt got the money never had probably never will but its always the well off people such as yourself that will not give a damn and then pass your guilty to the next white person who will take it, who are usually the people that never did anything wrong because the people who actually did do something wrong are probably the ones who you adore, so chew on that for a while

3:44PM PST on Jan 29, 2009

You know what? I think there is more important things to be concern than a plasma.... but oh well, I would like to have on!

12:42PM PST on Jan 29, 2009

The scary thing that people don't realize is that the planet will be just fine... eventually... long after we've made OURSELVES extinct!!!
I agree with Manuela, the animals have got it right and WE are the ignorant ones.

4:05AM PST on Jan 29, 2009

Well people haven't sunk in that global warming is going to destroy the world. I admire two things " the stupidity of human beings and the wisdom and inteligence of animals.

2:54AM PST on Jan 29, 2009

I do not own a plasma TV.

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