Kiwi Polemicist

January 12, 2009

Green madness: European Union plans to ban plasma TVs

First the EU outlawed incandescent light bulbs. Now The Independent is reporting that the EU is planning to outlaw the most power-hungry televisions, which effectively means that many plasma TVs will be illegal. The reasons for this totalitarianism are described thus:

Different makes and models of television vary in their use of power, but a 42in plasma television may use some 822 kilowatt hours a year, compared to 350kWh by an LCD flat screen of the same size. A 32in CRT, the biggest available, would use 322kWh.

Power consumption goes up as the screens increase in size, so the trust says that a big plasma model could use four times as much electricity and be responsible for the emission of four times as much carbon dioxide as the biggest CRT; they now account for twice as much as a fridge-freezer.

Now European governments are finalising a mandatory EU regulation to set minimum standards for televisions. The worst performers will be phased out, and the rest will have to be labelled with energy ratings which, says Defra, “will make it easier for consumers to identify the most and least energy-efficient televisions available”. The scheme is modelled on an existing one for fridges and other white goods which has greatly increased their efficiency over the past decade.

Whether or not saving energy is a good thing is open to debate. What is not open to debate is this: the state is acting immorally when it tells people what televisions they can and cannot own.

New Zealand is not free of this because we have mandatory energy efficiency standards for appliances. This means that the state has taken away your free choice when it comes to buying a fridge, freezer, flourescent light, hot water cylinder, air conditioner and other items. This is not a human rights issue, rather this is a property rights issue, because when the state controls how your spend your money they are taking away your property rights, i.e. they are taking away your right to do what you like with your property (click here for a simple explanation of this).

Also, let’s not forget the power of the free market: even if there were no state regulations manufacturers would have an incentive to produce efficient appliances. How so? Because producing efficient appliances enables them market their appliances as being cheaper to run than the competition’s product, and thinking consumers will respond well to such a pitch. The free market works because fiscal incentives are about as strong as sexual incentives. Also, if there were no regulations I wouldn’t be surprised if a private and voluntary energy efficiency standard came into effect, which manufacturers would have an incentive to adhere to.

The greenies use their beliefs to justify totalitarianism and are nothing but a pestilential plague that attacks the human race.

What do you think about the state controlling which appliances you buy (thus controlling how you spend your money)?

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1 Comment »

  1. I have no problem with energy efficiency labeling, that way consumers can make the best choice for their own situation.

    But say the figures you have quoted are correct, and you will save 400 kWh / year with an LCD. That is around $80 per year. But it may cost you thousands extra to get a large LCD as opposed to a plasma at the moment. So you are unlikely to ever recoup your investment, and are probably better off getting a plasma. Or an old CRT from a second-hand shop. Or not having a TV at all, protecting the children from the rubbish that passes for programming these days. 🙂

    The same logic goes for energy-efficient lightbulbs – they may only be worthwhile in frequently used locations, elsewhere you may spend more on the bulb than you will ever save in your power bill.

    Why are some things more expensive? Often because they use more energy to produce, and therefore cause more carbon emissions during production. So what is the carbon footprint of the production of a plasma tv vs an LCD tv? Or a standard lightbulb vs a conventional? I have no idea, you won’t see it in the media. But this is a very important issue, as you may actually use more energy / emit more CO2 with the “eco-friendly” option than the other, depending on the emissions during production.

    Why do the greenies tend to completely ignore this?

    Comment by Mr Dennis — January 12, 2009 @ 1:53 pm


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