This Year’s “War on Lightbulbs”

January 12, 2023

Washington Post:

The controversy was ignited when a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an agency charged with protecting the public from dangerous household products, said in mid-December that the commission will consider regulating indoor air pollution from gas stoves. On Monday, Commissioner Richard L. Trumka Jr., a Democrat, said in an interview that he had not ruled out a ban on the appliances, prompting the agency to pivot Wednesday and clarify it was not planning a ban.

But the flame was already lit. Trumka’s comment prompted loud complaints from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who claimed that the commission was trying to snatch the stoves from the 40 million homesthat rely on gas, even though any regulations would only affect new appliances and not existing ones.

“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove,” Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.) tweeted Tuesday. “If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!”

Jackson encouraged his nearly 550,000 Twitter followers to sign a petition on WinRed, a fundraising platform endorsed by the Republican National Committee, to “stop Biden from banning our stoves.” He also noted that first lady Jill Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have been photographed using the signature blue flames of gas cooktops.

The backlash was bipartisan. Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, tweeted Tuesday that “the federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner.”

The chair of the CPSC, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, walked back Trumka’s comments in a statement Wednesday morning, but reiterated that the agency will look at possible ways to curb gas stoves’ emissions. Research has linked their pollution to childhood asthma and other respiratory problems, along with global warming.

“Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards,” Hoehn-Saric said. “But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

Inevitably leading to an overheated but occasionally amusing meme war.

The White House on Wednesday asserted that President Joe Biden does not support a ban on gas stoves after a federal consumer safety official suggested that such a proposal was on the table.


All of which makes me think of a similar right wing moral panic a decade ago.

10 years ago the reigning wackjob of climate denial and reigning Marjorie Taylor Greene was Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann.

CBS News March 2, 2011:

Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann on Tuesday reintroduced the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act,” a bill to repeal a 2007 law mandating that incandescent light bulbs be phased out. 

“The government has no business telling an individual what kind of light bulb to buy,” she said in a news release Wednesday. “In 2007, Congress overstepped its bounds by mandating that only ‘energy efficient’ light bulbs may be sold after January 1, 2012. This mandate has sweeping effects on American families and businesses and needs serious consideration before taking effect.”

Bachmann says the mandate should only stay in place is (1) there is proof that alternate bulbs save consumers money, (2) there is proof that alternate bulbs significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and (3) that it’s shown that alternate bulbs “would not lead to a health risk for consumers, particularly those in hospitals, schools, day care centers and nursing homes.”

The bill isn’t the first “nanny state” critique to come from Bachmann, who saidwith regard to the IRS making breast pumps eligible for tax breaks: “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump – you want to talk about nanny state, I think we just got a new definition.” 

Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party Caucus and a potential GOP presidential candidate, has also gone after Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, which she casts as “very consistent with where the hard left is coming from.” 

House Republicans have already taken advantage of their newfound power to dial back some of Democrats’ environmental initiatives. This week, foam plastic coffee cups reappeared in Congressional cafeterias after a four year absence, the result of new Republican Speaker John Boehner moving to reverse much of former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “Greening the Capitol” initiative.

Now, of course, we are more mature about these things.

Meanwhile, how’s that war on lightbulbs going?


Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are gradually taking over the global lighting market. While in 2019, almost half of all light sources in the world were LEDs, it is projected that by 2030, some 87 percent of all light sources will be LEDs. This growing adoption rate is reflected in the size of the global LED market. Sized at about 70 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, the global LED market is expected to grow to almost 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2030


Bonus: Rep. Bachmann’s crackbrain rant on the House floor – “Carbon dioxide is a natural Byproduct of Nature.”
You’re welcome.


4 Responses to “This Year’s “War on Lightbulbs””

  1. Mark Mev Says:

    Idea for a new movie along the lines of Smile, but this one would be called Eyes. All the evil ones would have Michele Bachmann’s eyes and that same look. I already crapped my pants imagining it.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Because they don’t generate as much heat as incandescents, CFLs and LEDs are a bigger win in buildings that need cooling. The air conditioner doesn’t have to fight as hard.

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    The Republicans plus Manchin do not a bipartisan make. He’s not even in the right wing of the right wing party (as opposed to the far right wing of the right wing party).

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