£2.75bn

£2.75bn.  That’s what it costs.  2.75 billion British Pounds.

From this book comes this passage:

The incandescent bulb reigned supreme for more than a century, being still the dominant form of lighting, at least in domestic settings, well into the first decade of the twenty-first century. When it gave way to a new technology, it did so under duress. That is to say, it had to be banned, because its replacement was so unpopular. The decision by governments all over the world around 2010, lobbied by the makers of compact fluorescent bulbs, to ‘phase out’ incandescents by fiat in the interest of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, proved to be a foolish one.

The compact fluorescent replacements took too long to warm up, did not last as long as advertised and were hazardous to dispose of. They were also much more expensive. Their energy-saving did not make up for these drawbacks in most consumers’ eyes, so they had to be forced on to the market. The cost to Britain alone, of this coerced purchase and the subsidy that accompanied it, has been estimated at about £2.75bn.

Worst of all, had governments waited a few more years, they would have found a far better replacement coming along that was even more frugal in energy and had none of the disadvantages: light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

The reign of the compact fluorescents lasted just six years before they too were rapidly abandoned and manufacturers stopped producing them because of the falling cost and rising quality of LEDs.

It is as if the government in 1900 had forced people to buy steam cars instead of waiting for better internal-combustion vehicles. The whole compact fluorescent light bulb episode is an object lesson in misinnovation by government.

As the economist Don Boudreaux put it: ‘Any legislation forcing Americans to switch from using one type of bulb to another is inevitably the product of a horrid mix of interest-group politics with reckless symbolism designed to placate an electorate that increasingly believes that the sky is falling.’

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33 Responses to £2.75bn

  1. Crazyoldranga

    The Law of Unintended .

  2. Delta

    And the man responsible for banning the incandescent light bulb in Australia was …. drum roll please .. none other than Malcolm Turnbull.

    Yes the same man who brought us greenie Audrey Zibelman (from New York State) to run AEMO (into the ground?) and the same man who brought us a new Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, another greenie, who in turn produced the Finkel report with its disastrous polices slowly being wreaked on the national electricity grid, a grid now being redesigned by scientists with no engineering understanding. What could possibly go wrong? Apart from all the costs, any punt on how many years for the next system black? Well at least we’ve already had SA and a couple in Alice Springs as a foretaste.

    Yes, indeed, we owe a lot to MT.

  3. Cold-Hands

    Compact fluorescent bulbs… another Turnbull-thought bubble to our cost & detriment.

  4. Cold-Hands

    snap Delta- although you put i tin greater detail & far more eloquently.

  5. Pyrmonter

    Which is _exactly_ why we should use prices and not technical standards (RETs, efficiency mandates, building code changes, substitutes in generating means, whether renewables or nuclear …) to deal with a fairly straightforward problem. Markets work … they find cheap ways of adapting. Governments are choosing the most expensive way of bringing about the changes the voters seek.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Well I do like LED lightbulbs, but they cost 10 times an incandescent of the same output.
    OTOH their cost will probably come down since it is likely subject to Moore’s.
    One of the interesting things is to watch sodium vapour highway lights being steadily replaced.
    Quite a saving with LEDs for such applications.
    The local Lake Mac pelicans don’t get nice heated platforms to sleep on anymore.

  7. Rohan

    Most of them were filled with mercury halide. So environmentally friendly and good for your health if you accidently broke one. Technically you can’t piff them in your bin as general waste, but most end up that way.

  8. a happy little debunker

    I do like LED lightbulbs

    But I never seem to get the 17+ years per bulb I was promised.

  9. Squirrel

    “The incandescent bulb reigned supreme for more than a century…..”

    …and still does so in the homes of people who were smart enough to stock-up before the idiotic ban took effect. Warm, instant light – can’t beat it.

  10. Colonel Bunty Golightly

    Behind every moral principal is always a vested interest.

  11. mundi

    CFLs are a joke. I kept all the reciepts and boxes and made sure to claim on every single one. They didn’t get anywhere near their life time, often failing after just 5000 hours. They take time to warm up to full brightness, which is absurd.

    LEDs are now much better, but it still isn’t clear they beat a 50c incandescent price wise, especially if you have cheap energy.

  12. Lord Muck

    Malcolm Turnbull – need I say more. I wrote to him to complain at the time he forced this on us – no response of course.

    I made the point also that aren’t the Liberals supposed to believe in our freedom to choose how we run our lives as much as possible, and how ironic it was that a ‘Liberal’ is telling me by law what type of light globe I can use (and how many, given building regs)?

    In the transition period I used to go to Bunnings every week and buy a few dozen incandescents until I had about 300 in stock (lots of multiple candleabra light fittings) – still using them!

  13. Biota

    Nothing green ever works and always causes more harm than good

  14. Professor Fred Lenin

    Lord Muck , the same cunning tosser snuck poofter “marriage “ in they were never game to put it to a genuine referendum , the light globes were the same snuck in under the radar ,wonder if the maufacturerers were owned by a Cayman Is;ands syndicate ?
    Invade the Caymans , publish the banking non resident depositors annoy the eelites .

  15. Lord Muck

    No-one could be surprised by his attitude to ‘same sex marriage’ or as more colourfully expressed by The Prof, but don’t much care either way myself as I don’t know why ‘marriage’ has any legal status or should be subject to government interference in any way. It’s a social or religious pact between 2 people (or 3, or a person and a tree, or whatever) and the nature of that pact has nothing to do with politicians.

    Don’t get me wrong, a stable male/female relationship is undeniably the best thing for children and probably society as a whole, but why I need some dill bureaucrat to give me their imprimatur for it is beyond me.

    But as you note – running our lives for us is right up Turdbull’s street – he knows better.

  16. W Hogg

    This is bullshit. If you don’t like incandescents, simply replace them as they fail with LEDs. In fact, no one ever mandated mercury filled CFLs – they just banned incandescents. People were free to buy LEDs the whole time.

    The GBP3bn shit sounds incredibly implausible too.

  17. Boambee John

    Lord Muck

    I don’t know why ‘marriage’ has any legal status or should be subject to government interference in any way.

    Contract law should apply to the division of assets after marriage breakdown. The real issue is fair (as different to the current) treatment of access to and support of children. I think there is a role there, but it needs to be better than the current system.

  18. NoFixedAddress

    Bruce of Newcastle possibly has more information on this than I do but “It’s Time” to draw a distinction between Theoretical Science and Commercial Science.

    There are too many Science Theories that have gained incredible status yet at the end of the day the conclusions reached cannot be duplicated.

    Mann’s Hockey Stick results cannot be duplicated and the last I heard he still has not released his data.

    Lancet has had major published information blow up in their face.

    Peer review is just a political alliance.

    Before the ‘death globes was the hole in the ozone and everyone had to replace the gas in their refrigerator,

    What did that cost?

    And which country benefits the most from all this environmental propaganda?

    A

  19. Pyrmonter

    @ Bruce

    Happy with most LEDs now, but … they were over-deployed in residential parts of Sydney City fairly early, and over-light far too much of it. I miss the duller, less intrusive green-tinged light they replaced. George St is nice lit up at night as if it is daytime on a cloudy day, but there isn’t really a need to light every side-street that much.

  20. NoFixedAddress

    W Hogg
    #3505188, posted on July 6, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    This is bullshit. If you don’t like…..

    Totally agree W Hogg

    If you don’t like your Public Servant’s Government subsidising then stop paying tax.

  21. Roger

    I still mutter against Maladroit over this.

    What an idiot he is.

  22. Carpe Jugulum

    CFLs are a joke. I kept all the reciepts and boxes and made sure to claim on every single one. They didn’t get anywhere near their life time, often failing after just 5000 hours. They take time to warm up to full brightness, which is absurd.

    They give all the ambience of a Russian mortuary

  23. nb

    ‘increasingly believes that the sky is falling’
    Indeed. Will people learn they are being lied to? Do they want to be distressed? Media will satisfy whatever urge gets clicks. They satisfy a hunger for disaster. Politicians feed off it. A downward spiral of self-indulgence. Despicable really.

  24. gafa

    The local Lake Mac pelicans don’t get nice heated platforms to sleep on anymore.

    Unintended Consequences!

  25. Eyrie

    ” In fact, no one ever mandated mercury filled CFLs – they just banned incandescents. People were free to buy LEDs the whole time.’

    Were reasonably priced incandescents available back then?

  26. NoFixedAddress

    Eyrie
    #3505365, posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    ” In fact, no one ever mandated mercury filled CFLs – they just banned incandescents. People were free to buy LEDs the whole time.’

    Were reasonably priced incandescents available back then?

    No.

    They were pushed by the CCP Zombies.

    G’day Malcolm and Kevin

  27. gafa

    From a time before the time of Planned Obsolescence and the Phoebus cartel :

    There is a light bulb in a fire station in Livermore, California, that has been burning since 1901. It was manufactured in the late 1890s.

    Bulbcam
    http://www.centennialbulb.org/photos.htm

  28. Fair Shake

    Ah Malcolm Turnbull, the smartest man in the booth. He truly is the magic pudding. The gift that keeps on giving.

  29. Mark M

    2008: It’s About Laws, Not Light Bulbs

    Mr. Gore’s ambition is not just to change individual behavior by getting people to buy energy-saving light bulbs: it is to change policy.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/opinion/06sun2.html

    … and, it didn’t save the planet either.

  30. John Bayley

    It is as if the government in 1900 had forced people to buy steam cars battery electric cars instead of waiting for better internal-combustion vehicles

    FIFY.

  31. Iampeter

    In Australia we have the Howard government to thank for this.
    Another great leftist policy from the worlds greatest living conservative!

  32. Scott Osmond

    and government won’t learn from this experience. Still trying to pick winners and only picking duds.

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