Feature

The silly war over lightbulbs

What conservatives seem to forget is that “the new standards were not President Obama’s fault—or even his idea,” said Chris Good at TheAtlantic.com.

Chris GoodTheAtlantic.com

Fight the liberal conspiracy to take away our lightbulbs! That, said Chris Good, is the war cry of Republicans who insist that new federal lightbulb-efficiency standards—due to start taking effect in January— represent “a totalitarian invasion of personal liberty.” What conservatives seem to forget is that “the new standards were not President Obama’s fault—or even his idea.” They were initially proposed by Republican Rep. Fred Upton, and were signed into law in 2007 by President Bush.

At the time, most Republicans thought it sensible to phase in new, energy-efficient fluorescent lightbulbs that could cut U.S. electricity use by several percentage points, reduce dependence on oil-producing nations, and slow climate change. But as the GOP has moved steadily to the right, the consensus around energy efficiency and global warming “has completely fallen apart.” Now the party’s leaders, and most of its presidential candidates, deny that global warming exists, and condemn better lightbulbs as an intolerable affront on Americans’ God-given rights. What more proof does anyone need that Washington is broken?

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