Ban the bulb

Australia will phase out standard incandescent light bulbs over the next few years.  California may soon be doing the same.

This is a simple and obvious step.  Even with current energy prices, the economic benefits of fluorescents will come quickly. 

It’s a sobering thought that Wal-Mart’s plans are more aggressive than our own Canadian government’s in this regard.

But the truth is that if energy prices reflected the medical costs associated with smog, the public subsidies to tar sands and nuclear plants, or the destruction of our children’s planet, government regulation wouldn’t be necessary.  Incandescent bulbs are so much less efficient than CFLs and newer alternatives such as LEDs that, if electricity wasn’t being given away below cost, businesses and homeowners would make the switch on their own.

A government ban can make sure you only find fluorescent lighting at the hardware store, but real-cost energy pricing might be what’s required to get you to switch those fluorescents off when you leave a room.  The Green Party’s policy of tax shifting would help.

Not that I’d complain if our government gave us a regulatory push for our own good.

One response to “Ban the bulb”

  1. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu writes:

    Andrew Potter, writing in Macleans magazine [requires library card, here’s a later article on a similar topic], lays out a challenge to the Green Party to demonstrate the maturity of our party by coming out firmly against a ban on incandescents.

    While it’s true that Greens generally avoid regulating every purchase by implementing broader strategies and allowing the market to take care of many of the details, we are also a pragmatic party that traditionally works in coalitions.

    If no other party is willing to accept the Green carbon tax shift, we recognize that a lightbulb ban is better than nothing.

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