A pundit takes on the light bulbs that would save the planet

George F. Will casts doubt on climate chang


George F. Will has emerged as the highest profile pundit to doggedly cast doubt on climate change science, and hence a hero to global warming skeptics. In this column, Will aims his cool wit at the cult of the compact fluorescent light bulb—a target even those who fully buy the evidence of a warming planet might find worthy of skewering. But Will also pounces, in passing, on statistics showing that 1998 was the hottest year on record; the second link below explains why one shouldn’t make too much of that.

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A pundit takes on the light bulbs that would save the planet

  1. There is now quantifiable proof that these fluorescent bulbs actually create a loss of energy. The wonder bulbs generate no heat whatsoever, unlike traditional light bulbs and thus create an environment whereby your heating system must work that much harder. This offsets any savings completely. My only question is how long it’s going to take these opportunists to force the revival of “global cooling” back down our throats? I remember back in university we were supposed to panic about some pretty scary advancing polar ice caps, that were certain to gobble up all of the arable land. I guess there must be good money in telling these lies. That sad character, Al Gore, has signed-on with another losing effort. This was supposed to be part of his therapy to get him out of the cellar after sinking into depression over the loss to Bush. Careful on the steps Al, everything is going to be just fine. They shaved his beard and got him to shed the pajamas, to save the world. Oops !!!! Good thing his family has tons of dough.

    • This is a popular misconception, but it’s not actually as cut and dried as you state.

      Yes, incandescent bulbs generate heat, but they do it very inefficiently, plus they do it up in the air near the ceiling, not down where the humans are. They also generate light very inefficiently (often less than 5% of the electricity goes to light).

      CFLs aren’t perfect of course (what is?) but they do not waste electricity on heat, they generate light very efficiently, and they significantly reduce carbon emissions from generators, reducing pollution around us.

      A worry about global cooling is actually a myth: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=94 (from 2005), http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2008/10/the_great_global_cooling_myth.html (from 2008)

      • “reduce carbon emissions from generators, reducing pollution around us.”

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but neither carbon nor CO2 are pollution. Obviously hydrocarbons and other molecules containing carbon can be pollutants, but elemental carbon and CO2 benefit the planet. Plants need CO2 to grow, and they grow more vigourously under high CO2 levels (thereby producing more oxygen). The “science” linking CO2 to global warming has been thoroughly debunked, but even if you still believe it you have to concede that it is less precise than the “science” that tells you what the weather will be in your town next week. We all know better than to make plans to go to the beach based on a long-term weather forecast, yet for some reason many people are willing to drastically change their lifestyle, submit to new taxes, fees and levies, and put up trade barriers because some untested computer model tells them to.

        • 1. Quantities matter. Carbon and CO2 are pollution when they are in amounts that cause deleterious effects to life on earth.

          2. The science linking CO2 to global warming has not been debunked, you’re lying.

          3. Precision is not the same as accuracy. The science of global warming is not precise in what the temperature changes will be. However, all evidence suggests it is accurate in its general claims. That said, it is also possible to make a prediction on long-term trends even if predicting short-term trends is impossible. ie: It is undeniable you will die (long term), whether you will die tomorrow is unknown (short-term)

          • Wow that’s heavy hit’n stuff there pal……. how much is your weekly government paycheque from this bogus climate crap? I know I know…..if it saves just one duck, right? Personally, I’m a little disappointed that the effects aren’t more immediate. A longer summer would be just fine by me.

        • To clarify, I was talking about the pollution created when Ontario burns coal to create electricity so that short-sighted incandecent-bulb-lovers can keep their precious wasteful bulbs.

          For the rest, T Thwim’s response suits me just fine.

          • I am 100% confident, after reading hundreds of articles, studies and interview with scientists about “global warming”, watching many documentaries, and examining a fair amount of raw data, that there is no meaningful link between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature. I also know that the IPCC is the major proponent of AGW. The IPCC is run by the same UN that stood idly by while Israel slaughtered 900+ women and children in Gaza, told Romeo Dallaire to basically screw himself when he asked for support in Rwanda, etc., etc. If you want to continue believing that the UN and IPCC give a damn about you, go ahead.

            I also know that the NASA/GISS temperature data set is the only one that shows an increase in warming since 1998. They were outed last fall trying to pass off September data as October’s. GISS uses ground-level sensors, which are far more biased than satellite temperature readings. GISS has completely failed to adjust for the high proportion of urban sensors, many of which are located in places like the south side of large brick buildings, the middle of asphalt parking lots and rooftops, next to sewage treatment outflow pipes, etc.. If you think this doesn’t result in a corrupted data set, I’m sorry for you.

            And Thwim, projections made by computer models that ignore the effects of just about everything other than CO2 do not qualify as evidence. These models ignore solar output, atmospheric water vapour (responsible for over 95% of the greenhouse effect). Projections, period, do not qualify as evidence. Evidence consists of things that have already happened (e.g. two consecutive, cold, snowy winters in the N. hemisphere, a complete dearth of sunspots for a time last fall, a polar bear population that has grown significantly in the last 30 years).

            Also could you please define “deleterious effects to life on earth”? Obviously you are pompous enough to believe that the 20th Century represents the optimal conditions for life on earth. How have you come to this conclusion? Which species are more important than others?

    • And how will the waste heat from incandescent bulbs reduce energy costs in the summer when millions of North Americans are using air conditioners powerd by electricty, hmmm?

      • Fluorescent bulbs make sense in the summer, and incandescent bulbs make sense in the winter.

        • No, an efficient heating system makes sense in the winter.

          Are we going to choose less efficent refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, radios and TV’s so they will give off extra heat in winter? Perhaps swap them out with efficient ones for the summer?

          The energy savings of compact fluorescents may have been overstated CR, but that only affects a decision to switch light bulbs before they burn out, not the choice we make when buying replacements.

        • Actually, light bulbs that maximize light and minimize heat are smart at all times. A heating and cooling system that maximizes heating and cooling makes sense for heating and cooling.

          Let your home heating system handle your home heating. The “loss of desirable heat” argument against CFL bulbs has to be one of the silliest arguments out there. Cost, mercury (also debatable), reliability (ten years my *ss), can’t place them horizontally, no dimmers, etc. There are enough reasonable arguments to throw at CFLs. This isn’t one of them.

  2. George Will has run several columns recently with demonstrably false statements, misinterpreted studies, and a refusal to consider critics’ actual facts. It’s find to disagree on subjective topics, but math is not subjective. Unfortunately, the WaPo’s ombudsman has also ignored the facts to support the star columnist.


  3. All of this global whatever is nothing more than a money generating debacle. He said…..she said…… blah blah blah….. The real problem is that our government loves these deals to justify reckless spending. By now, there’s office towers full of “warming” or “cooling” or “no change” people hanging around doodling, wondering when their next raise is coming. This is getting boring. I wish these guys would find a new phony cause to make their money from.

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