When the NRSP (The Natural Resources Stewardship Project), a front group for the oil-patch designed to spread confusion over the issue of Global warming, launched its "Science AuditCentre" in April, I have to admit I rolled my eyes until they hurt. And reading Uber denier Tim Ball claim that
Tax dollars must not be squandered on feel-good 'green' plans that have little basis in real science. This approach only hurts the economy by diverting tax dollars away from important environmental issues where attention is needed.
...was almost enough to induce vomiting.
However, like a stopped clock that is nevertheless right twice a day, I find that their recent letter to John Baird, questioning his decision to ban incandescent bulbs (link to it from here), makes a certain amount of sense:
Earlier today, I sent you an e-mail, a copy of which is attached to this cover letter. I am forwarding that communication to you today via courier to ensure that it is not lost in the large volume of e-mail submissions you undoubtedly receive.
As part of our newly launched "Science Audit Centre" campaign, the Natural Resources Stewardship Project certainly look forward to hearing back from you concerning the process that was employed to come to the decision to ban incandescent light bulbs. As explained in my e-mail, NRSP believes that a major government intervention into the lives of Canadians such as that represented by the incandescent light bulb ban should have a clear and demonstrable environmental benefit; otherwise it is not worth the financial cost and inconvenience. That is why we would like to learn about the full life cycle assessment process that was employed in this case.
In principle I favour such a ban, and in practice have replaced about half my home lighting with compact fluorescents. However, the swiftness with which so many governments have embraced the move away from incandescent bulbs reminds me too much of the move to replace gasoline with Ethanol, which for example the Bush administration has embraced as part of its own green thinking, even though the net savings in emissions is minimal to non-existant once life-cycle costs have been taken into consideration. So I too would like to see an analysis of the GHG emissions involved in producing CFs. And I would be surprised, no shocked, if anything like this was done when Mr. Baird was formulating his plan.
Furthermore, since compacts do contain a (tiny) amount of mercury, there are disposal issues to look at which are nowhere considered in the government's plan. And while some of the outlets selling compacts apparently have functioning take-back plans, my local hardware store is telling people to pitch the dead ones into the trash.