light bulb law


The story behind today’s energy efficient lighting and a forgotten episode in the culture wars.

The conservative fight to save an obsolete lighting technology – the incandescent bulb — has something to tell us about current environmental disputes and the nature of culture wars.


A Celebration of Energy Efficiency?

A different perspective on a familiar holiday.

When you think about it, the Hanukkah story is, in a funny way, about a miraculous increase in energy efficiency.  An energy resource (olive oil) that was supposed to supply only enough energy for one night’s worth of light was able to supply light for eight nights. That’s an eightfold improvement in energy efficiency, akin …


Lightbulb Wars : The Saga Continues

Republicans win a largely symbolic victory for an obsolete technology.

Among the sleeper provisions of the new budget deal is a ban on enforcing federal lightbulb standards.  This is a great example of symbolic politics — it makes Tea Party Republicans happy, has limited practical effect, and makes little policy sense. Or to put it another way, the enforcement ban is a dumb thing to …


Signs of the (NY) Times

The Times has two interesting environmental stories today.  Both are worth reading.  They relate in different ways to climate change, but they’re both interesting even if climate change isn’t an issue that excites you. The first and most important story is about melting of permafrost in the Arctic.  Huge amounts of carbon are locked up …


Michele Bachmann’s Unconstitutional Light-Bulb Bill

Congress can repeal the light bulb requirement (or not). It can mandate that an executive agency like DOE or EPA decide the three issues specified by Bachman. But Congress can’t make the validity of the light bulb requirement turn on a determination by GAO.