California: Beyond ‘No Light Bulbs for You’

It isn’t easy being green, but one California legislator wants to make it the law. Lloyd Levine thinks traditional incandescent light bulbs and CRTs are bad for the environment and should be outlawed in California.

The Rumor Mill

Levine, who on Tuesday announced the “How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb Act” that would ban incandescent light bulbs. You know, the kind most people have in most of their light bulb fixtures, the kind of dome light you have in your car, the kind of bulb found in flashlights, and the most common type of Christmas lights.

“Incandescent lightbulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications,” the California Assemblyman said Tuesday. “Meanwhile, they remain incredibly inefficient, converting only about 5% of the energy they receive into light.”

Levine, who we can only speculate must either be in the pocket of the flourescent light industry or have big investments in said industry, wants to mandate use of costly, four times more efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs in place of traditional incandescent light bulbs.

While we won’t contest the fact that CFL bulbs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, generally last longer, and more than pay for themselves in savings on your electric bill, we can just imagine the light bulb police searching every home in the state for contraband incandescent bulbs should this law be enacted.

Beyond Light Bulbs

And that’s just the start. His next target, according to an unnamed janitor who emptied his trash last week, is the cathode ray tube (CRT) found in traditional television screens, computer monitors, and video arcade systems. The “How Can We Promote LCDs and Kill Off CRTs Act” could be introduced as early as next week.

After taking care of light bulb waste, this target should also help significantly reduce energy consumption and electric bills.

Under the proposed legislation, all CRTs in the state of California would have to be turned in to the state government for recycling by the end of 2008. This would include television sets, computer monitors, arcade machines, and all-in-one computers such as early Macs and G3 iMacs.

To compensate citizens for their loss, the state will issue $25 gift cards to Best Buy for every CRT turned in.

The future could be even more chilling for Californians, though. As if losing incandescent light bulbs and CRT displays won’t be bad enough, Levine’s next energy saving mandate will require that Californians abandon their cars for destinations less than five miles away, although there will be an exception in case of emergencies.

Californians will be required to walk, bicycle, take mass transit, or ride a scooter (100cc maximum engine size) when going to the grocery store, school, work, or anywhere else less than five miles from home.

Levine estimates this could slash gasoline consumption in the state by 12%, saving consumers millions upon millions of dollars per year. And to make up for lost gas tax revenue, the state would raise the gasoline tax by 12% when the law takes effect.

Sources tell us that Levine has invested in a chain of bicycle shops covering most of California. The Assemblyman was not available for comment.

– Anne Onymus

Keywords: #lloydlevine