Tales from the Trail

from Environment Forum:

How many politicians does it take to NOT change a light bulb?

Some stories, no matter how serious, are just joke-prone. So it was this week with the proposed U.S. BULB act, which aimed to repeal light bulb efficiency standards that became law in 2007. Sponsored by Joe Barton, a Texas Republican congressman, the BULB bill failed to receive the two-thirds vote of those present in the House of Representatives that would have been needed to suspend House rules and pass the measure.

That was the signal for Washington politicians, interest groups and some headline writers to crank up the pun-producing machinery:

"Lights out for GOP Energy Agenda?" in Politico;

"Republican bill to ban energy-saving lightbulbs fades" in the Guardian;

"Dim BULB Act's Rejection Victory for Common Sense" in a statement from Republicans for Environmental Protection;

And a statement on the "Failure of Dimwitted BULB Act in U.S. House" from the League of Conservation Voters.

The spokesman for California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who was House speaker when a sweeping update of U.S. energy policy was signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush, outdid himself:

from Summit Notebook:

Steven Chu: “I’m an energy efficiency nut”

He unplugged the extra refrigerator in the basement. He got a tankless water heater and reduced the heat setting. He turned down the air conditioning last summer and used fans to keep cool.

Yes, Energy Secretary Steven Chu acknowledged, "I'm an energy efficiency nut."

The Nobel physics laureate said he's slowly weatherizing his home in the Washington DC area, but "weatherizing" isn't a word he likes. "I'm decreasing its energy consumption and making money," was how he put it at a Reuters Washington Summit. Chu figures his energy bills are about half what the home's previous owners paid.

But he said that he, and most people, could still do more.

"In terms of energy efficiency, it's what the economists would say is a market failure ... Most people don't have the knowledge or inclination, there's inertia, they just can't be bothered, they let some things slip," Chu said. And he himself is not immune: "We've been living in the house for five months and it's still a work in progress -- and I'm an energy efficiency nut."