December 19 News: U.S. Lightbulb Industry Slams GOP, Saying Repeal of Efficiency Law Will “Undermine Investments”

AP Photo

Industry: Light bulb war a dim idea

Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.

But not when it comes to light bulbs.

This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business. Last week, the GOP won a long-fought battle to kill new energy efficiency rules for bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending bill.

The rider may have advanced GOP talking points about light bulb “freedom of choice,” but it didn’t win them many friends in the industry, who are more interested in their bottom line than political rhetoric.

Big companies like General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania spent big bucks preparing for the standards, and the industry is fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.

After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.

Brazil’s forest policy could undermine its climate goals

Brazil, caretaker of the world’s largest rain forest, is about to enact broad new regulations that opponents say could loosen restrictions on Amazon deforestation and increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The move comes after two years of often roiling debates and dozens of hearings across the country over how to update a 1965 law that was designed to control slash-and-burn agriculture. Backers say the proposed Forest Code bill, which is expected to be signed into law early next year, would protect the Amazon while easing the regulatory burden on small farmers.

Brazil, a leader on climate change and host of next June’s U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, is charting a climate strategy shaped by domestic politics and economic concerns that sometimes appears at odds with its international environmental rhetoric. Such domestic pressures — clear also in increasingly influential developing countries such as China and India — have created uncertainty over how the world will curb its carbon output by the end of the decade, even as negotiators gear up to forge a new global warming pact by 2015.

“It sends a mixed message because Brazil has positioned itself as a country that’s committed itself to saving the forest cover to the benefit of the world,” said Christian Poirier, Brazil program director for Amazon Watch. “The new forest code flouts all that.”

Coalmine a ‘threat to global warming target’

The development of coal ”mega-mines” in central Queensland such as the massive China First project will destroy the world’s chance of keeping global warming to 2 degrees, Greenpeace says.

In its submission tomorrow to the federal government on the environmental impact of mining magnate Clive Palmer’s $7.5 billion China First mine, the environmental group will say that this and other big projects in Queensland’s Galilee Basin will lock in huge coal exploitation for decades to come.

”If this goes ahead, it will destroy our chances of keeping global warming to 2 degrees,” Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn said. 

The International Energy Agency recently reported that the world needed to make ”urgent and radical policy changes” if it was to stick to the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century. The agency drew up a ”carbon budget” that would allow the world to meet that target.

A Solar Trade War Could Put Us All in the Dark

After decades of global competition and collaboration, many solar markets around the world have reached grid parity—the point at which generating solar electricity, without subsidies, costs less than the electricity purchased from the grid. In other words, solar technology is ready to be a major contributor to solving our planet’s energy and environmental crisis.

However, trade protectionism threatens to inhibit the solar industry at the very time when it is breaking through to a new level of global interdependence, collaboration, and maturity.

On October 18, the U.S. government was asked to impose tariffs on imports of Chinese solar cells and modules, based on the argument that China-based producers have been heavily subsidized and are selling solar products at unfairly low prices. Perhaps not surprisingly, some Chinese companies have now asked the Chinese government to impose tariffs on imports of American solar products, arguing that U.S.-based producers have been heavily subsidized, too. And just like that, the production of affordable and competitive solar products has become a political liability in the world’s two largest producers and consumers of energy.

India’s Rajasthan Opens Bidding for 200 Megawatts of Solar Farms

India’s Rajasthan state started accepting bids from developers to set up 200 megawatts of solar power projects in an area that has the country’s second-most solar radiant exposure.

The state plans to auction contracts for 100 megawatts of photovoltaic plants and 100 megawatts of solar thermal plants, Naresh Pal Gangwar, chairman of the state-run Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corp. said today by telephone.

Reliance Power Ltd. (RPWR), Shriram EPC Ltd. (SEPC) and SunEdison, the solar development unit of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR), are among companies that are developing projects in Rajasthan, believed to have some of India’s most promising resources to develop energy from sunlight with its sprawling desert terrain.

Solar thermal technology uses sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators, while photovoltaic plants use panels to turn sunlight directly into power.

Romney Jabs Newt Over 2008 Global Warming Ad

Mitt Romney took a jab at GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich today during a town hall meeting for an ad the former speaker filmed with Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi aimed at spreading awareness on climate change.

Asked about his views on global warming by an audience member, Romney responded without missing a beat, “First of all, I’m not planning on cutting an ad with Nancy Pelosi.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

“In all fairness, Speaker Gingrich also said that was the biggest mistake of his life,” Romney quickly added, laughing.

Romney was referring to an ad, titled “We Can Solve It,” that was released in 2008 and featured Gingrich and then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sitting on a couch together urging people to address global warming.

24 Responses to December 19 News: U.S. Lightbulb Industry Slams GOP, Saying Repeal of Efficiency Law Will “Undermine Investments”

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    The Times permafrost article is being picked up. I found this part interesting :

    When the tundra burns

    One day in 2007, on the plain in northern Alaska, a lightning strike set the tundra on fire.

    Historically, tundra, a landscape of lichens, mosses and delicate plants, was too damp to burn. But the climate in the area is warming and drying, and fires in both the tundra and forest regions of Alaska are increasing.

    The Anaktuvuk River fire burned about 400 square miles of tundra, and work on lake sediments showed that no fire of that scale had occurred in the region in at least 5,000 years.

    Scientists have calculated that the fire and its aftermath sent a huge pulse of carbon into the air – as much as would be emitted in two years by a city the size of Miami. Scientists say the fire thawed the upper layer of permafrost and set off what they fear will be permanent shifts in the landscape.

    Up to now, the Arctic has been absorbing carbon, on balance, and was once expected to keep doing so throughout this century. But recent analyses suggest that the permafrost thaw could turn the Arctic into a net source of carbon, possibly within a decade or two, and those studies did not account for fire.

    “I maintain that the fastest way you’re going to lose permafrost and release permafrost carbon to the atmosphere is increasing fire frequency,” said Michelle C. Mack, a University of Florida scientist who is studying the Anaktuvuk fire. “It’s a rapid and catastrophic way you could completely change everything.”

  2. Bob Savage says:

    On the GOP’s war on lightbulbs: This is proof of how little the Republicans care about the impact of Washington in creating “uncertainty”. For the past three years we heard nothing from the Republicans except tax breaks for billionaires and less “uncertainty” about the regulatory environment would create economic activity. Now they are in power and they are creating the very economic “uncertainty” they denounced.

    It should be clear to everyone that establishing these standards doesn’t create “uncertainty”. Eliminating the standards is doing precisely that.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    GE and Phillips are not exactly small companies, and historically have been right wing. The GOP is not pro business per se- rather, they are now a subsidiary of the oil and coal companies. Fossil fuels are so profitable- how many industries have a built in market?- that their cash now dominates the capital.

    This is effectively a coup d’etat. It appears that something similar has happened in Australia.

    The Democrats have been pretty meek here. Eventually Americans are going to have to stand up to companies like Koch and Peabody.

  4. Jay Alt says:

    Breakthrough could double solar energy output

    UT researcher finds organic plastic semiconductor slows fast electrons. Already measuring efficiencies of 44%.

    ‘Fracking’ rap video named one of best of 2011

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2011) — Large forest regions in Canada are apparently about to experience rapid change. Based on models, scientists can now show that there are threshold values for wildfires just like there are for epidemics. Large areas of Canada are apparently approaching this threshold value and may in future exceed it due to climate change.

  6. Bill Walker says:

    Conservatives will probably use that light bulb article as an example showing they are not in the pocket of big business. Of course, it’s just a matter of which business has more to spend.

  7. Michael T says:

    NASA has released their November global temperature data:

    And here is the global map for November 2011:

    While Alaska and the middle east were much colder than normal, eastern North America and most of Europe were much warmer than normal during November.

  8. How many Republicans does it take to screw up our light bulbs?

  9. Colorado Bob says:

    Very Cool –
    SALT LAKE CITY — Brandon Smith says the idea first came to him when he was almost hit by a car at night. After hearing about so many other bicycle crashes, he wanted to do something to keep himself, and others, safe.

    Even from a block or two away, you can see Smith riding his bicycle. The trick? He uses LED lights.

    “These are the brightest lights I’ve seen,” Brandon said. “It gives cyclists that added edge for a car noticing them from a far distance.”

    He designed the LED by LITE after a car almost hit him on a dark street one night. The first time he took them out for a ride, drivers noticed.

    “I went for a ride around town just for fun, and I was stopped by two cars. They literally pulled me over and said, ‘Hey, where do I get those?'” Brandon recalled.

    That was his “ah-ha moment.” He realized other bicyclists want to be as safe, and as seen, as he was.

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    Washi has just passed the Brazil storms last winter as the deadlest in 2011.

    ” At least 972 people died in the disaster, according to goverment sources.

    “We lost count for those still missing,” disaster managment chief Benito Ramos said in a short statement. ”

  11. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Re Clive Palmer and the China First project – where is that ecocide law when we need it? ME

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    And while I am on the subject of madness, isn’t there some sort of gong we could award to the US for its part in the ‘solar trade war’? Spoilt Brat of the Year, perhaps?

    Why didn’t they just subsidize their own product to compete with China? Would have created a lot more jobs and been a win for everybody, ME

  13. fj says:

    First of IBM’s Five Predictions for the Next Five Years:

    People power will come to life @BW

    via Bloomberg Businessweek

  14. Merrelyn Emery says:

    And now the bodies are decomposing faster than they can bury them. We are going to need lots of mobile morgues that we can rapidly move around from one disaster site to another – great business opportunity! ME

  15. Anne van der Bom says:

    Don’t mix up Phillips, which is now part of Chevron, and Philips. It’s the latter one that manufactures lightbulbs.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    While the parasites, ‘Them’, the 0.01%, demand ‘certainty’, not really possessing that ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit that they boast of, but preferring the cosier habits of the rentier, the sponger and the leech, they demand ‘risk’ for everybody else. So work becomes more precarious, it becomes casualised, unions are busted, so you can be dispensed with at a moment’s notice and, if you dare ask that you wages and conditions not be ‘right-sized’ (ie slashed) the Master will move offshore. In fact, if you ‘ask’, rather than grovel, you get the same treatment. The absolute contempt and hatred of ‘Them’ for the rest of humanity grows every day more ferocious.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The energy plan outlined by the ‘Labor’ Party regime here last week, with its contemptuous dismissal of renewables and manic insistence on burning coal and gas (and the typically treacherous repudiation of a pledge to control emissions from coal-powered stations)illustrated the intellectual and moral sewer of public policy in this country, the parasite elite’s utter rejection of climate science (or its homicidal urge to cause mass death)and the true nature of the Labor Party regime, which pretends, when it’s after the votes of the credulous, to be environmentally aware.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Merrelyn, China is being set up for a hit. The West will not allow any non-Western power to reach global economic pre-eminence, certainly not an independent state like China. So all policy, all MSM propaganda and all the military machinations we see in regard to China are merely prelude to either a concerted push for internal regime change based on the ‘colour revolution’ pattern, or war. There’s no other path open to Western elites-they will not submit to the power of non-Westerners, ever, or even deign to collaborate with them as equals.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That’s just a euphemism for more ‘colour revolutions’ to destabilise states that do not bow down to the Boss of Bosses in Washington.

  20. catman306 says:

    I hope some can learn from this mistake.

    Russian oil platform capsizes; 4 dead, 49 missing

    By Nataliya Vasilyeva Copyright 2011 – Associated Press

    Published Sunday, December 18, 2011

    MOSCOW — Rescue workers are searching for 49 men in freezing, remote waters off Russia’s east coast after their oil rig capsized and sank amid fierce storms.

    By nightfall Sunday, four men had been confirmed dead, 14 others had been plucked alive from the churning, icy waters by the ship that had been towing the Kolskaya drilling platform. But the search for the remaining men was hampered by freezing temperatures, a driving blizzard and strong winds.

  21. Merrelyn Emery says:

    That would be a real worry Mulga as I’m sure you are aware that China is a very proud nation, one of the cradles of civilization, and only now sees herself gaining an equitable place in the Councils of this more open, globalized world.

    Given the many imbalances in the current situaion, not the least the financial state of the USA caused in part by reckless conflicts, the USA would do well to contemplate cooperation first, second and third, ME

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You’re entirely correct, Merrelyn, but since when have the ruling elites of the USA ever practised ‘co-operation’? Co-optation, sure, coercion, certainly, corruption, always a favourite, but co-operation between (gulp) ‘equals’. EE GAD woman, have you forgotten? This in the ‘indispensable nation’, with its God-given ‘Manifest Destiny’ to be ‘A Light unto the Nation’..oops…wrong Messianism. It doesn’t ‘co-operate’-it dictates, even unto the bitter end.

  23. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Mulga under #9, it’s an absolutely bluddy classic mate!

    I still can’t stop laughing – I laughed so much, I neglected and almost burnt the spuds for which the grandkids would never forgive me.

    I thank the Great Godess I can still laugh, and stay (reasonably and arguably) sane and working for sanity, as we face the next possible escalation of our undeniably insane economic/social/political etc etc systems, and I thank you as well, ME

  24. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    St Alfred burned the cakes while cogitating, and St Merrelyn (I do beatifications, too-see my price list)nearly burns the spuds while laughing. I’m glad I was of some service-inducing laughter has been my lot in life.