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View Diary: The rise of LED light bulbs (218 comments)

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  •  This is good... (2+ / 0-)
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    tle, cai

    but I want to call attention to a phenomenon I call "illusion of progress" reporting on climate change on the left. It's a challenging political issue so I think we really like to think that technological progress is handling it. I first noticed this when TPM hardly reported at all on Doha talks and the embarrassing position we took there, but keeps posting the latest scoop on solar panels or DOE funding or etc. I'm afraid that this a little bit of the same. CFL bulbs and (as you point out) LED are definitely a big part of the solution, but you know at the same time we were all patting ourselves on the back for switching to CFLs a lot of us were buying flatscreen TVs that are sort of energy hogs. No time to google it right now, but I recall reading that the savings from the bulb switch were entirely erased by the TV switch.

    We're not going to solve this global ecological crisis at the individual level. We need good public policy. To get that I'm more and more convinced that we need a massive protest movement, because we've been at it for decades with little substantial change in public policy. I hope people will think about reccing diaries about the Blockade movement. Switching your bulbs is the least you can do. What we really need is more and more people stepping up to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure through nonviolent direct action.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:35:30 AM PST

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      but we should also do the small things.  We should do both.

    •  Depends on the kind of "flat panel" TV. (1+ / 0-)
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      play jurist

      LCD TVs use much less energy than an old style CRT of comparable size. If it has an LED backlight, then it's going to be even more efficient. So switching to LCD flat screen TVs actually probably saves power (at least in operation - I don't know about the energy costs of the production processes for each).

      On the other hand, plasma screen TVs ARE huge energy hogs. So you are absolutely correct if that's what you meant. And larger screens are going to use more energy than smaller ones, so the general increase in screen size does consume more. But in general it depends on what kind of flat screen it is. Research energy use carefully before purchase, and avoid plasma entirely.

      In general, though, a TV is not a big household energy consumer relative to things like refrigerators, home heating, dryers, and so on (or the cumulative effect of lots of lighting). So for non-plasma TVs, I think that might be a bit of a flawed example.

      I agree completely with your overall point, though. There IS often a notion of illusory progress on environmental issues, and I think that there is also way too much focus on technology (as opposed to e.g., lifestyle changes) as a maic solution to environmental problems. Wile I absolutely think that new environmental technology is great, I don't think it's realistic to think that it can magically solve our issues without requiring any changes to how people live.

      A related issue, I think, is that environmentalism often gets overly focused on the current "issue du jour". For example, as important as climate change is, I think that global biodiversity loss is at least as important an issue. Some of the focus on that has been lost as a result of the climate crisis.

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