Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is Green the New Stupid?

[Posted By Jake]

The EPA first stuck their nose in our bathroom. We laughed. Their incompetence was entertaining. The Federal government mandated low-flow toilets and shower heads to save water, and save the planet. Of course, you had to flush twice and take showers that were twice as long to get clean, but that's just your normal clueless bureaucratic bungling.

Then the EPA moved on to light bulbs. They outlawed regular incandescents and forced us to use the more expensive, funny-looking compact fluorescents (CFL's). These bulbs are supposed to save energy, and (you guessed it) save the planet. The problem is that these CFL's contain toxic amounts of mercury and require special handling and disposal. We're still laughing at the bureaucratic bunglers, but their "green" stupidity might be doing more harm than good.

Now Obama, in an election push to placate his liberal, environmental base, has authorized the EPA to announce a ridiculous 56 miles-per-gallon mandate for 2025, with the phase-in of these new regulations starting in 2017. That's a mere two product cycles for today's models.

A couple of weeks earlier, Al Gore took time off from groping masseuses to criticize the President for not standing up for "bold action". So, of course, Barack, leading from behind once again, responds with a grand "green" gesture, regardless of its real world practicality or financial impact.

What's left unsaid in all this progressive posturing is that the Obama administration has bought the silence of Detroit with their bailouts and embraced the environmental cult's worship of electric cars with our money. The Federal Energy Department has spent $465 million on Tesla and $529 million on Fiskar Automotive. Both companies are owned by Silicon Valley friends-of-Barack, so coincidentally these funds happen to be nice political grease, also. The simple fact that electric cars are inferior performers, too expensive, and unwanted by the American consumer is irrelevant to the "green" agenda.

In 2009, Energy Secretary Chu, a Nobel laureate like both his boss and the Goracle said, "...maybe I'm optimistic, but there's very little debate that a new green energy economy will bring economic prosperity."

Sorry, Mr. Secretary, that just sounds too much like toilet humor to me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: low-flow toilets and shower heads.

Your comments may have had some validity when the law was enacted - *17 years ago*. Since then manufacturers have improved their products to meet the new standards -- something they would have been unlikely to do on their own.

RE: light bulbs

Your comments to the contrary, on reading the actual law, you will find that regular incandescents have not been outlawed and no one is forced to use CFLs.

You are correct that CFLs are more expensive, and that the mercury is a problem. However, this 2007 law (passed with bipartisan support, and signed by George W. Bush), has already had the effect of encouraging manufacturer's to create better lighting options (LEDs) that are already starting to come down in price.

RE: 56 miles-per-gallon mandate for 2025, with the phase-in of these new regulations starting in 2017.

These are talks that have just recently started, so there is certainly no mandate as of yet. 56 mpg is within the range presented, but it is still only a range. Interestingly enough, the auto manufacturers have already stated that they would be willing to work to meet the lower end of the range (42 - 46 mpg) over the next 8 years. If they can meet that goal using existing technology, then 56 mpg by 2025 is not all that far off.

If the of this article was to simply say that you do not think that the government should be involved in pushing industry towards these these standards, then that is your right.

It would be helpful for your readers, however, if you provided some actual factual context while expressing your opinion.

As for me, I am kind of glad not to be choking on coal dust these days...even if it that also came about at the hand of government intervention.

July 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM 
Blogger jake said...

I didn't think my comments were particularly subtle, but let me be perfectly clear... I absolutely believe the government should not be sticking its nose into our bathrooms.

If the government did not choose the low-flow solution, and force industry to comply to their "green" vision, then we might have residential composting toilets or microwave toilets that eliminated water all together.

We'll never know, because the costly mandates of the EPA and the environmental lobby stifled innovation and diverted limited financial resources to their chosen solution instead of the normal market forces. You have to wonder who was getting the political grease then?

The Republicans aren't blameless. They haven't had the courage to stand up to the "green" cult. But its accurate to state that the Democrats are at the forefront of most of the environmental stupidity.

One last thought -- you're "glad not to be choking on coal dust these days". That is typical of the "green" stupidity that's costing taxpayers millions. 50% of America's electricity comes from coal. How do you think you are going to be powering your infatuation with electric cars?

July 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right, your comments were not particularly subtle--they also weren't particularly substantiated by relevant facts.

Your reply also conveniently *disregarded* the fact that the two other (much more recent, much more relevant) areas of concern in your article were structured in such a way *not* to "divert limited financial resources to [a] chosen solution".

Instead, the law (and proposed law, in the case of mpg requirements) leaves the method of implementation in the hands of the market.

In the case of CFLs, the first attempts by the industry fell a bit short of expectations, but again the next generation of lighting products have already hit the shelves, and are starting to come down in price.

In the case of mpg requirements, the automobile manufacturers are free to use and/or develop the technologies that work best in meeting the requirements and meeting consumer demands.

In fact, the vehicle I currently drive *already* hits 42 mpg and is a standard sized four-door sedan--and runs on diesel.

So, not only do I not have an "infatuation" with electric vehicles, the fact that we *do* produce so much of our electricity *without* allowing nearly as much of the resulting pollutants into the air as in days gone by only proves the point that it is possible to raise environmental and efficiency standards while business is still able to make a healthy profit.

To be honest, I am not a fan of government intervention in general--but am also realize that corporate interests will always default to the highest return with the least regard for externalities. That's what they are built to do, but it is also why they sometimes need additional incentives.

July 11, 2011 at 11:22 AM 
Blogger jake said...

Since Anonymous is so fixated on the facts, here are some direct quotes to help him understand the current situation with CFL's:

From Wikipedia, "Australia, Canada, and the United States have also announced plans for nationwide efficiency standards that would constitute an effective ban on most current incandescent bulbs." That sure sounds like they are being outlawed.

Still don't believe me? How about previously-quoted Energy Secretary Steven Chu? On Friday, he defended the ban on incandescent light bulbs by saying, "We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."

After all, why should the people be allowed to waste their own money when you have a government that is fully capable of wasting it for them?

Anyway, Anonymous, aren't facts such stubborn things? Though I must admit, you sure sound a lot like our misguided Secretary Chu when you say, "corporate interests will always default to the highest return with the least regard for externalities."

So the only moral people in the world are the government bureaucrats and the rest of the public sector? Such naivete and shallowness of thought -- it's no wonder that green has become the new stupid.

July 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


July 12, 2011 at 7:19 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently there were too many FACTS in my last post for them to actually appear here.

No point in reposting: If you were interested in the FACTS, you have every opportunity to look them up yourself. May I also suggest using something a little more FACTually dependable than Wikipedia for reference. At the very least, it might be useful to double-check your sources.

In the meantime, opinion, conjecture, misleading talking-points and name-calling seems to be more your style, so I will leave you to that. Enjoy!

July 12, 2011 at 10:42 AM 
Blogger jake said...


July 12, 2011 at 11:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one remain truly thankful for President Obama having stacked his Cabinet with people like Energy Secretary Steven Chu. As Jake pointed out, he defended the ban on incandescent light bulbs by saying, "We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money." That's just what America needs: A government that cares for the people and doesn't want them to waste their own money. Let's all get together and throw lots of money to the Obama re-election campaign so they can continue their pursuit of caring for us. I can see in my minds eye that shortly after his reelection in 2012, President Obama will push Congress to outlaw lotteries and casinos and all other forms of gambling. After all, it is their burden to remove all choices that allow people to waste their money... And then early in the second Obama term Secretary Chu will take on the paper industry. After all, two-ply soft toilet paper is a waste of money when scratchy one-ply will suffice. We wouldn't want our government to allow us to waste our money on two-ply would we? Jake: Thanks for taking the time to reply to Anonymous #1. I'm not sure I would have had the patience to tolerate his ignorance as well as you did.

July 13, 2011 at 7:31 PM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Protecting the environment is important, but I believe the more important issue here is breaking our dependence on foreign fuel. If that involves the government mandating certain aspects of our lives, so be it. I don't want to see any more of our kids dying in Iraq and Afghanistan so we can have cheap gas. I'm sorry, but the life of a soldier is more important than your right to fill up your Hummer and still have change in your pocket. BTW, incandescant bulbs are not being outlawed. They simply have to be more energy efficient. I understand that they are now manufacturing incandecents that are 30% more efficient.

July 13, 2011 at 7:54 PM 
Blogger jake said...

I'm with Bob... drill, baby, drill.

Thanks Anon II for your kind words. It's not easy to be patient with the intrusive, big government cheerleaders, but I try.

July 14, 2011 at 10:17 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake--your lack of read comprehension is astounding. Not did I not say say, or even imply that I was a "big government cheerleader", but if that is how you lump all people who make use of actual facts to disagree with your conjecture, so be it...

If anything, I agree with Bob Bohne's post--although perhaps I am looking at a different edit, as I can't find the words "drill, baby, drill" in his comments as you imply.

July 14, 2011 at 10:36 AM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

The other thing that seems to be missing from this post is a discussion about the potential savings for the consumer. I can't quite understand why some would object to the development of energy saving measures, and the demise of energy hogging devices and appliances. Granted, mistakes will be made (ethanol), but I believe this is the right direction. For the environment, the job market and the pocketbook. Who can argue against lower utility bills?

July 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

Bob's on fire, baby! Totally agree with you, Bob, go domestic, but use some of that tax revenue on developing and firming the next generation of power.

Re: banning bulbs, I think it's better to let the market do it, and why not? We're seeing more and more consumers buying energy efficient bulbs. Personally, I don't remember the last time I had one in my house.

If we must ban anything, let's ban Jake from buying those awful football draft guides!

July 15, 2011 at 8:30 AM 
Blogger jake said...

Steve, you're killing me.
You better hope your Temple boy is a stud or I'm going to make you wish they were still locked out.

July 15, 2011 at 9:43 AM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Heard an interview on NPR this morning with the author of the book "Green Lighting"

He makes these interesting claims.

25% of our national energy use goes to lighting.

The amount of mercury in new CFL's is 1 miligram. It used to be 5. He gave this comparison. A thermometer has 500 and a house thermostat has 3000.

A CFL pays for itself in 2 to 3 months and lasts 6 to 8 yrs. with the average 6 hr. daily use.

BTW, Bush signed ito law the bill that would require incandescants to be 30% more efficient. I guess I can add that to my short list of things that Bush did right.

July 16, 2011 at 7:26 AM 
Anonymous Maley said...


January 8, 2013 at 6:50 AM 

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