Lomborg and Haab on light bulbs and technology

Lynne Kiesling

Thanks to Tim Haab for pointing us to this excellent observation from Bjorn Lomborg about innovation, regulation, and environmental quality:

Real reductions in carbon emissions will occur only when better technology makes it worthwhile for individuals and businesses to change their behavior. CFLs and other advances can take us part of the way, but there are massive technological hurdles to overcome before fossil fuels generally become less attractive than greener alternatives. …

Limiting access to the ‘wrong’ light bulbs or patio heaters, ultimately, is not the right path. We will only solve global warming by ensuring that alternative technologies are better than our current options. Then, people the world over will choose to use them.

Hear, hear.

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One thought on “Lomborg and Haab on light bulbs and technology

  1. Yes, Lomborg is right that improving technology will do more to make the world a better place than government-regulated consumer product controls (whether styled as lighting efficiency standards or limits on excessive luxury). Lomborg emphasizes the positive – how to get the job done effectively.

    It is also important to explain the negative half of the story – what is wrong with government dictated product controls. Pennington’s Robust Political Economy book does a good job (at least in the early chapters, I need to read the applications in part II. I’m just now finally getting around to reading the book after your strong recommendation. Thank you for sticking it in my brain).

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