TCS Daily


Is This Really a Bright Idea?

By Tim Worstall - March 29, 2007 12:00 AM

Banning incandescent light bulbs seems to be all the rage these days, Australia's gone first, the European Union seems to want to do so and there are various state laws being mulled over at present (see the how many legislators does it take to change a light bulb? bill in California, for example). The assumption is that by banning the incandescents everyone will simply switch over to the compact flourescents and thus Gaia will be appeased and the planet saved.

We won't, therefore, see the end of human civilisation as Bangladesh drowns, the oceans boil and the last human beings barbeque Flipper at the end of times. Or something.

However, I'd like to ask one question. Why? Why the banning that is?

Regular readers will know that I'm vaguely involved in the light bulb industry, being a supplier of one of the key ingredients that make metal halide bulbs work (no, these aren't being banned so I've got no specific axe to grind here). So I thought I'd go and ask a few people in the industry about how well compact flourescents are doing, out there in the marketplace, before these bans can have any effect. (Note that the bans, except in Venezuela and Cuba, are all to come into effect in some years' time, a much longer period than the usual manufacturing timescales.)

Those bulbs that are in the manufacturing process now will all be on the market and indeed sold and installed, long before any effect of a ban makes itself visible in the market. So, an interesting question: just how many compact flourescents are there in the whole manufacturing process this year?

Well, from within the industry, it seems that there are 1 billion. That's a minimum number. It almost certainly includes the global production of the big three manufacturers, probably does not include any non-foreign-owned Chinese or Japanese production (if indeed there is any of the latter) but it is most definitely a minimum number.

OK, as Dean Baker and others insist, big numbers don't really mean anything to people; we need to put them into context. One bulb for every six people on the planet? No, not terribly illuminating (sorry, couldn't resist). So how about in relation to total sales of incandescent light bulbs?

Apologies, as a quick Google didn't tell me what that number was but in the US it's some 2 billion a year. According to Fast Company:

"Last year, U.S. consumers spent about $1 billion to buy about 2 billion lightbulbs -- 5.5 million every day."


Let's make a huge leap of faith and say that global demand is ten times that shall we? The three hundred million people in the US are the richest amongst the large nations, have more living space (and thus lighting) than anyone else and there's roughly 3 billion or so people living anything close to a well housed and illuminated lifestyle across the planet. The whole point about the poor, something we can actually see from the satellite photographs, is that they don't in fact have artificial lighting, or in such meagre quantities that it's not going to change our numbers very much.

So 20 billion incandescents sold annually, as a vaguely informed guess. So only 5% of the market is in fact compact flourescents, so we can see why indeed it might be sensible to have a ban (not that I would agree, but certainly a case can be made) in order to encourage the changeover.

Except, we're missing a rather important point. Compact flourescents have a much longer lifespan than incandescents.

"Because swirls last so long, every one that's sold represents the loss of 6 or 8 or 10 incandescent bulb sales."


Other sources state that the lifespan is 8-12 times longer. Shall we, with our very rough mathematics here, assume 10 times? So, when flourescents have replaced incandescents, we'll have a global market of only 2 billion bulbs a year, yes?

"Once a third of the sockets in U.S. homes have compact fluorescents--once you sell the bulge of conversion replacements--both incandescent sales and CFL sales will fall off a cliff. Incandescent bulb sales could be cut in half, because we won't use them any more. And after we've installed 1.5 billion swirls, we'll only be buying perhaps 200 million a year, because they're on a six- or eight-year replacement cycle."


Some 100 million of these will continue to be metal halide lamps, as they are at present. Some incandescents will remain because there are times and places when they are still more efficient. Highly insulated houses use them for heating, for example; also, for lights used rarely and for short periods of time (think guest toilet) incandescents are still more economical.

So, well, why the ban?

The free market, all on its very own -- people reacting purely to price pressures, the differences in costs of the bulbs and the electricity to power them -- is leading the switchover. We don't actually need any governmental action; we're already producing over 50% of the compact flourescents that will be needed, perhaps an even higher portion.

Me, cynic that I am, would simply put it down to the fact that politicians have to be seen to be doing something to justify their existence, even if the problem already is, largely, solved without their beneficience, or, indeed, their salaries or existence.


Categories:

161 Comments

'dim' wits
It's another symbolic feel good thing for liberals. And he's right that politicians always like to appear to be doing something to justify their cushy gravy train. I wonder if the same people know that electricity is actually subsidized in many countries in the world? Thus, even if they have these new bulbs, the incentive is to waste since you're not paying the real price. I go around all over the third world and regualarly see porch lites and such burning all day long.

Buggy whips and button hooks
Time marches on. Whether or not we ban incandescent bulbs they'll be history in another few years. They cost more to burn and they don't last as long. Also, with volume the price of the compacts is coming way down.

So why is this a big issue? I suspect it's all symbol rather than substance. In fact as dietmar has pointed out in another context, the "oriental mind" is much taken with the idea of symbol over substance. And this is something to gripe about.

It's the same nanny state that wanted us to take the arsenic out of our drinking water. And complains about the mercury being poured into our atmosphere and groundwater from coal fired facilities. Buncha do gooders.

Let them know we reserve the right to kill ourselves any way we want to-- with cigarets, unregulated substances cooked up in trailer park labs or just old fashioned guns. Tell them this is a free country and we're not going to take it any more.

"I go around all over the third world and regualarly see porch lites and such burning all day long.
.. except when the power is out for hour son end because Gov. often supplies the power it is often unavailable.

Dulls
Before 9/11/01, I thought I was a liberal and I started swapping out my incandescents with flourescent bulbs. My wife hated them and said that the "ambience" was depressing for her, especially in winter. When I started switching back to incandescents, I realized she was right. The flourescents are dull and depressing and may be contributing to the increasingly dour, sour, and morose attitudes of "progressives". Remember a few years ago, there was even an attempt to rename progressive liberals as "brights"? With the flourescent revolution, they must now be re-attributed as "dulls".

Environmental disaster waiting to happen
From what I hear, these compact flourescents are absolutely loaded with mercury. I just can't wait for autism, Downs Syndrome and cancer statistics to go skyrocketting in Australia.

Market
Yeah, what he is saying is the market is doing it all by itself without the need for the almighty state mandating it.

However, that leaves it to free choice and that cannot be allowed can it?

After all, us minions are to dumb to act as rational beings.

Crisis mentality
In WW2 they had tin drives to help the war effort. My father told me in fact they were merely to make the public feel like they contributed to the effort.

The ruling class has 3 modes of operation.

Create a imaginary crisis.
Create a new agency or law to "cure" the crisis.
Silence opposition.

And in the case of terrorism, make the terrorist to be victims.

Question not for good intentions are more important that actual results. Remember, with the left the end always justifies the means.

Why?
Who cares as long as the planet is saved? Besides, if we all get cancer and die out then Gaia is served.

Human sacrifices at the alter of the new religion.

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4139

NeoCon's Would Try To Make A Buck While "Rome Is Burning" How Many Of You Pimp Your Mom's Out?
You Neocon Racist's will be claiming "there's no global warming" as the coasts flood and the weather where you are continues to baffle your small dulled brains, i.e.- why doesn't it rain anymore here? Why is there so much rain here now?

You're so obsessed with making a buck, you pimp your kids and mom's out, don't you? That's how stupid and cruel you are.

Uh oh
Uh oh, someone went off his meds again.

And who the heck left the rubber room unlocked?

Hey, 'beatles1', do the people who live in your community know they have a raving lunatic living among them?

The artcile begs several good questions
The primary among them being, 'Yeah, why exactly should they be banned?'

After all, as Roy points out, we no longer ride around on horses, nor do we all heat our homes with coal furnaces in the basement, nor do we any longer watch black and white televisions.

None of those changes was mandated by the government. People simply decided that they liked the newer alternatives better.

While Roy slyly misleads about things like 'removing arsenic from out drinking water' etc etc, referring to the 'hand grenade' left behind by the clintons as they were leaving office, never mentioning that it was a scam from word one, he does at least seem to have a rudimenary grasp of the fact that, if something truly is better, people will choose it over other alternatives.

This is why government mandates such as ruining our gasoline with 10% ethanol so that our engines will wear out in half the time cause far more harm than good.

Same goes for stupid ideas like this 'incandescent bulb ban'.

The question *I* have about it is this: How will individual people in their homes using a tiny fraction less electricity per month help 'save the earth'? Is there some magic connection between the harming of the earth and my light bulb?

Let's assume I replace every regular bulb in my house with a fluorescent. (fair disclosure, I actually have 3 or 4 of them already, which I bought a couple years ago just to try them out.. I believe the only one we still use is in a small desk lamp). And lest assume I manage to talk everyone on my street into changing out their bulbs too.

What happens then? How does that help the environment? Does the local power provider (in this case Reliant Energy, formerly Houston Lighting and Power or HL&P) somehow not CREATE as much electricity, simply because I happen to use less of it? That seems awfully far-fetched. Electricity providers, by definition and by function, MUST 'over-produce' in order to guarantee reliable availability of service REGARDLESS OF DEMAND.

While I do understand that I might save a few pennies off my electricity bill each month, and that I might realize a few dollars a year in replacement-bulb costs, I still do not see a connection between that and 'saving the planet'.

In other words, whether we switch bulbs types or not, the electricity provider will still produce the same amount of power, using the same fuels, and doing the same horrific harm to the environment.

Are these liberal idiots so mentally deficient that they cannot see even this simple little truth?

If they really cared about 'saving the planet', they would be pushing for more, newer and more modern nuclear power plants everywhere, but especially in the U.S., where we have the greatest concentration of electricity needs and the most ridiculous way of having to deliver it (exhibit A, see California).

But never mind trying to use common sense. Al the Great says we need to change! All Hail Gore!

Quality of Life Light
Does anyone here really like the bluish light that swirlies or any other fluorescents produce?

I hate it myself and will not buy them if I can avoid it.

Temporary solution
CF lamps are a short-term solution, because LED lamps will soon take over a large part of the residential market, as they have industrial, automotive, and public works (traffic signals, for instance).

Life cycle cost will be the determining factor in this transformation.

Good idea
This is a good idea to use flouresents but a bad idea for it to be legislated. Some on the left were so alarmed with the provisions of the patriot act taking away freedoms. My guess that a very high percentage of them are for this freedom being removed. I know that some may see this as a stretch but we have just lost another freedom to big government.
All freedoms are important not just the ones that are currently popular with the latest trend in society. " A government solution to a problem is usually worse than the problem."

Typical politician solution
Ban something that is obsolete so they can take credit for getting rid of an "evil".

It would probably go away faster with market forces than passing a law that in effect says "you only make it until this date".

It is too bad the politician don't do something useful.

Everyone together...... H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!!!!
Hey Dumb*ss. If "Rome Is Burning" why are you on-line feeding the fire. Dumb*ss hypocrite!

Heh
This guy is nto real. he lurks in, flings racist insults and vanishes without a argument.

I think he is a fake. Nobody is that stupid, are they?

in roy's world, doing good has no cost
For example, removing the last traces of arsenic from drinking water.

Roy believes we should do this, despite the fact that it would bankrupt many rural water systems, and despite the fact that there is no science suggesting that the existing levels of arsenic are doing any harm.

Arsenic is bad, so it must be gotten rid of.
That's all the complexity that roy's mind can handle.

mercury yes, loaded no
...

LED's also take a lot less energy to make, and they have fewer hazardous materials in them
They also have the potential of being more energy efficient.

LED's also have the potential of producing any color of light that you want. They are made up of three dies producing blue, amber, and red lights. These are mixed together to create the white light that we see. By varying the output of individual dies, you can select pretty much any color that you desire.

LED's can also be dimmed. Flourescents can, but only with great difficulty.

Control Freaks
I agree with the concept of "create a problem" "propose a solution" "Control the people" because I have seen the Hegelian dialectic in action far too many times.
The question I have is: "Where do these control freaks come from?"
They do seem to have one common trait in that they are seemingly incapable of controlling their own lives.
You would think that they would want to get their own lives under control and then perhaps share with the rest of us how they accomplished this feat, but no, they are fascinated with controlling others but not themselves.

Global warming
Yes, we are experiencing global warming at this time.

When you can explain to me why Pluto, Saturn and Mars are experiencing "global warming", I will listen to your explanations in light of that discovery.

I know the answer, time you found it out.

The common good.
A more accurate parallel would be with mufflers. Auto engines make noise. So government mandated mufflers. It's not that everyone decided they liked them. You can get a ticket for driving without one. They are required for the common good.

"If they really cared about 'saving the planet', they would be pushing for more, newer and more modern nuclear power plants everywhere, but especially in the U.S., where we have the greatest concentration of electricity needs and the most ridiculous way of having to deliver it."

"They" are actually thinking pretty hard about the best way to meet anticipated power requirements. And I think they may well come around to nuclear, as the alternative is coal, which is the worst of choices. The only thing that needs to happen is for the USG to come up with some kind of plan for all the spent fuel they are accumulating. The obvious plan, of course, is to reuse it. But with that very serious problem resolved, I am very much in favor of designing some state of the art Gen IV reactors.

Also, a part of any sensible plan would be to design in some basic energy conservation measures. Naturally you will read this and say "See? They want to tell us we can't use as much as we want to!" But I wouldn't do it that way at all. Use all the juice you like. I would put in a two tiered plan, where the first x number of kwh would be billed at a moderate rate and subsequent use billed at a higher rate. Everyone would be happy-- AND it would reflect actual production costs.

Otherwise it gets just like those places where power is subsidised, and people leave all their lights on all the time.

The power grid actually does raise and reduce output constantly, according to real-time demand. So when you turn your lights down low, they reduce their generation accordingly. Naturally I mean "you" in the collective sense, as "all their customers together". Peak production capacity is not the same as current power output. And when there's a cool spell, and the customers aren't using their ACs around the clock, they do indeed take some generators off line.

Conservation actually does reduce the need to generate power. And when they overproduce power they can't sell, they're losing money. See this for a bit of insight into supply and demand issues:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/eu_comprice/eu_comprice_sum.html

There are also times when use outpaces production, and you get a brown out. Naturally they try to minimize these events, as they are rough on everyone's equipment, consumer and producer alike.

Not really a problem
TreeHugger has this to say on the subject:

"Many people, when they learn that compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury vapor, get skeptical about the much talked-about benefits of these and assume that traditional incandescent light bulbs are less damaging to the environment despite requiring more power and having shorter lives. After all, mercury is really bad stuff, right? "A toxic metal known to cause brain, spinal cord, kidney and liver damage in humans—does not break down easily and, once airborne, often finds its way into groundwater, rivers and the sea, where it can cause a host of contamination issues for wildlife and people alike." But as often is the case, the truth can be a bit counter-intuitive.

"Ironically, compact fluorescent bulbs are responsible for less mercury contamination than the incandescent bulbs they replaced, even though incandescents don't contain any mercury. The highest source of mercury in America’s air and water results from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, at utilities that supply electricity. Since a compact fluorescent bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, and lasts at least six times longer, it is responsible for far less mercury pollution in the long run. A coal-burning power plant will emit four times more mercury to produce the electricity for an incandescent bulb than for a compact fluorescent."

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/06/what_about_merc.php

Is requiring all workers to invest in stock markets a good idea?
Looks like big-government Republicans want to tell you where to put your money.

Brownback Backs Social Security Accounts
By LIBBY QUAID (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
March 29, 2007 3:02 PM EDT
WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback said Social Security can be fixed with private savings accounts, a case President Bush has made without success during his second term in office.

Workers would invest a little less than half of their payroll taxes in stocks and other market-based investment funds under a plan the Kansas senator will he will lay out details in a speech to the anti-tax Club for Growth in Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday.

"The funds, instead of going into the government, are going into personal accounts that will be invested in the economy, creating capital and growth and economic activity," Brownback said in an interview Thursday.

"This would reduce the size of the federal government overall," he said.

Brownback is well-liked among conservatives because of his firm stances social issues, such as his resistance to gay marriage, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion. But he wants to be thought of as a fiscal conservative, too.

Under his plan, people could choose to remain in the old system, but young people would automatically get private retirement accounts as they enter the work force.

A grim future looms for Social Security. As post-World War II baby boomers begin retiring, the system won't collect enough taxes to pay for retirement benefits. Without big changes, the government likely will have to raise taxes or reduce benefits to pay for the system.

Brownback would raise money to pay for the shortfall by having the Treasury Department issue securities. The government would stop issuing debt once benefits paid to those in the old system drop below payroll tax revenue.

Opposition from AARP helped scuttle private accounts when Bush promoted them in 2005. The lobby group for older Americans fears the volatility of the stock market - particularly in light of a Feb. 27 meltdown that sent the Dow Jones Industrials plunging 416 points.

"These kinds of proposals change the nature of the program and add unnecessary risk," said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP.

"We do want to leave room for debate on the best way to deal with Social Security's long-term solvency, but proposals like this don't really deal with the solvency issue at all," he said.

Brownback said that even in the most volatile years, the rate of return on stock investments is positive.

Should be the other way around.
Fluorescents give solar spectrum output so they are used by people who suffer from winter depression.

I guess you and your wife have some other problem.

Of course the big problem with fluorescents is
they use a lot more material and components than do incandescents.

They also contain mercury so a broken bulb is not very safe.

We at least need to educate the public about the risks of mercury, the fact that these bulbs contain mercury, and have recycling redily available.

At most we should have an exchamge program where the old bulbs can be exchanged for new ones, at a reduced cost over purchasing new bulbs, and the ceramin bases, etc. can be recycled into new bulbs.

For once we agree
Will miracles never cease?

I'm astonished.

The use of hyperbole
I see. Since it would be difficult and pointless to remove "all" arsenic from drinking water, the only alternative would be to take no action at all.

Innumerable studies have defined the problem of arsenic, the world's most prevalent contaminant of well water. Here's one that addresses the problem very well:

http://www.nap.edu/books/0309076293/html/

The issue is, how much arsenic are we prepared to tolerate? The limits everyone is discussing are all above zero, and below the dose that is invariably fatal following a single ingestion. So it becomes a matter of degree.

Chronic low doses do lead to lung and bladder cancers. But those don't show up for years. Feeling lucky? Drink the water.

Choice
I think he's proposing giving new workers a choice to put half of SS tax withholdings in private accounts. Sounds like an excellent plan to me. Even if the funds were deposited in long term CDs, the return would be better than w/SS. I mean, aren't we doing this already with supplemental retirement accounts?

Keep guessing
At 13 watts per bulb ("but feels like 20w!"), your solution is still, a Dull one. That light-box fad has passed.

Mercury
What form does mercury take in flourescent bulbs?

I see the opposite
It is government using taxes to subsidize the investment banking industry.

So...
own a piece of the bank with your tax dollars. My investment banker pays me a 4% annual dividend and has appreciated 20% in less than two years.

Mercury zero
Unoxidized mercury. This is metalic mercury though it is a liquid at room temperature. It is relatively volatile and can be transported through the air quite readily. You can also breath it wherein it can become oxidized within the body. It is a neurotoxin and affects the brain as well as a the nervous system.

Unoxidized mercury is reduced in natural environments to methyl or dimethyl mercury, enters the food chain, and is bioamplified up the food chain to fish we eat.

Why do you ask?

Sounds dangerous
Curious if you knew anything about Hg and its toxicity. As you imply, it has to go through a number of steps before it becomes toxic. See:

http://courses.biology.utah.edu/bowling/5490/clarkson_06_mercury_toxicology.pdf

for detailed discussion. Where I was going with my question is what mercuric or mercurous compound is used in fluorescent bulbs? How do I properly dispose of my floursecent bulbs?

You Libs are Crazy
Where is the line that government can't cross with you people.

Listen to yourself. You want the government telling you what lightbulb you can use in your lamp?

Maybe someone from the government can come and hold your **** when I you take a **** too.

You got it!
Not the government's job to "protect" me in that manner.

to beatles1
I'm not sure what neocon racists you're talking about, myself I'm a austro-libertarian. But re the costs flooding, liberals have been saying that for years and it hasn't happened. In fact I'm waiting for some liberal who actually believes it to sell me his shore line property a a deep discount. If the sea level were rising, property prices would steeply drop. But in fact some places are still reclaiming land from the sea, and spending billions on new buildings there. I'll bet it's not because they're in denial, but probably because they've done their homework.

workers investing
Killbuzz is right and Stephan wrong on that. Some countries do allow citizens to invest their own money instead of organs of the state like SS to waste it. I guess Chile has a really good programme, and Singapore too. An even better idea would be for the government to say something like: what people do with their money is none of our business, and we won't steal anymore of it from you to give to our pork projects and line our own pockets.

to Roy re buggy whips
Finally we agree on something. I also think it's none of the predatory governments business how people kill themselves, whether by cigarette, heroin, knife in the hot bath water, etc. In fact I own ALTRIA shares, the one that makes Malboro man, and everytime I see a guy smoking them, I say what a fool who makes me rich by killing himself. Also re mercury from water. I travel around a lot in tin pot third world countries where you can't drink the water from the tapes; and what you know?, I can always find some clean water to buy in a jug, or refill station etc. Every in any backwater place that no government has ever seen, private people supply drinking water; no need for a nanny state to provide.

Light usage will increase...
...that's what always happens when the price of something goes down, demand goes up. In this case, it's the cost of 'lumens'. People will be less likely to conserve on their consumption of light. They'll leave the porch light on more. etc.

So in the end, the demand for electricity won't go down. We'll just be getting more light for our money.

Where is environmental breakeven ?
So how many hours will I need to use a cf vs edison bulb (eb) to break even on the the extra energy (ie greenhouse gasses) consumed in making a cf bulb, even allowing for the fact a cf is 'supposed' to last 6-12 longer (I can buy a eb (in 10 pack) for 29c each - an equivalent cf costs around $8 each ) ?

We had cf in 2 fixtures & 9 ebs. In the three years we have lived in this house we have replaced 1 eb & both cf bulbs twice (& finally put in ebs)!. They don't like the power surges we get during electrical storms - they don't fail just ficker maddingly!.

If the numskull who is our environment minister (the idiot that started this whole business) gets his way & does ban the ebs - I will stockpile 100

I wonder if this will be like the great cloth vs disposable nappy (diapers) debate - ie which is better for the environment & how finally the last authorotative report said there was very little to choose between considering them environmental inputs to produce, transport, mill , weave, package,(& in the case of cloth water to wash & detergent, waste water treatment & power to washing maschine vs extra landfill).

control freaks
you mean like al gore telling the rest of us that we need govt to force us to use less energy, while he's busy using more energy than 10 average citizens.

in the real world we measure the cost of doing something against the cost of doing nothing
In roys world, costs don't matter.

Doing stuff that makes roy feel good about himself are all that matter.

Low levels of arsenic are a problem. However those levels are way above the levels that Clinton proposed.

As I pointed out earlier, and you managed to ignore, in the real world, your solutions have costs.

One of those costs is the bankrupting of rural water systems, forcing people to go back to using well water. Water which has much higher levels of contaminants that even the pre-purified water that you find so abhorent.

So the result of cleaning up the water, is that many people are drinking water that is dirtier than before.

In the real world every action has costs. In roy's world, he refuses to examine the costs.

will roy's hypocrisy never end
Just a few posts ago he was castigating the Bush administration for being willing to allow low levels of mercury to be released into the environment.

Now roy is taking the position that the risk of mercury in CF's is worth the cost.

I guess when the goal is something roy values, then it's worth the risk.

They are currently required to invest in govt bonds. So how does this proposal reduce freedom?
...

giving people a better rate of return is just "subsiding the investment bankers"?
...

Not really a problem
TreeHugger has this to say on the subject:

"Many people, when they learn that compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury vapor, get skeptical about the much talked-about benefits of these and assume that traditional incandescent light bulbs are less damaging to the environment despite requiring more power and having shorter lives. After all, mercury is really bad stuff, right? "A toxic metal known to cause brain, spinal cord, kidney and liver damage in humans—does not break down easily and, once airborne, often finds its way into groundwater, rivers and the sea, where it can cause a host of contamination issues for wildlife and people alike." But as often is the case, the truth can be a bit counter-intuitive.

"Ironically, compact fluorescent bulbs are responsible for less mercury contamination than the incandescent bulbs they replaced, even though incandescents don't contain any mercury. The highest source of mercury in America’s air and water results from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, at utilities that supply electricity. Since a compact fluorescent bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, and lasts at least six times longer, it is responsible for far less mercury pollution in the long run. A coal-burning power plant will emit four times more mercury to produce the electricity for an incandescent bulb than for a compact fluorescent."

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/06/what_about_merc.php

Caveat emptor
I admire the way you are able to take a clear stand as to what you believe in.

Manufacturers of medicines should have the freedom to make pills that kill-- isn't it up to the consumer to make hos own knowledgable choice and to what cures to buy? And the poor saps whose children are born stunted from bad drugs-- do they have anyone to blame but themselves?

And coal burning enterprises should have the freedom to spew their fumes anywhere-- to inhibit them would be to deny them freedom of enterprise. Too bad for the morons who eat the fish grown in the waters the mercury gets rained on. Why don't they eat hamburger instead?

It's a buyer beware world. Government should take no interest in the fates of the people who get hurt by industrial activities. After all-- who do they represent? People? Or business?

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