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How to Suck at Global Warming Policy

Er:

Anyone wanting to buy a powerful vacuum cleaner has only 10 days left to be certain of getting one – following new EU rules that come in next month.

From 1 September, companies in the EU will be banned from making or importing vacuum cleaners above 1600 watts.

The new European rules are part of the EU’s energy efficiency directive, designed to help tackle climate change.

The EU is claiming that this will help with global warming. I would conservatively estimate that the impact of this rule on carbon emissions will be somewhere between jack shit and fuck all.

  • As Bjorn Lomborg points out, Europe already has carbon caps and high energy taxes. So all this will do is change what fossil fuels are used to power, not how much they are powering.
  • Furthermore, those carbon caps and taxes were designed to do exactly this sort of thing. By making energy more expensive, you incentivize efficiency. Over the last forty years, we have seen huge advances in energy efficiency in our homes, our cars and our offices … without mandated technology or even carbon taxes. The reason is that energy prices have risen as the low-hanging fruit of fossil fuels have run out and global demand has increased. And people have responded by buying more efficient technology. Everything in your house — from your car to your coffee maker — is massively more efficient than it was a couple of decades ago. You don’t need to tell people what technology to buy. The market does that for free. What’s the point in singling out one technology among hundreds?
  • If vacuums are less powerful, people will simply run them longer. Net energy gain: zero.
  • The amount of electricity used for vacuuming is minuscule on the grand scale of things. Even if this decreased Europe’s carbon footprint — which it won’t — the amount of time it would buy us on global warming could be measured in seconds. In exchange for that, Europeans will have dirtier carpets and have to shell out tons of money.
  • This is everything that is wrong with the Left Wing approach to global warming. It’s a symbolic move based on someone’s random brain fart that will do almost nothing to address the problem while costing lots of money. Putting aside the science of global warming, this is a phenomenally stupid way of dealing with it. And another illustration of how, for all their pretensions of scientific literacy, the Left Wing is happy to wallow in ignorance and ludditism.

    One person who gets it? James Dyson:

    Dyson vacuum cleaners score highly in the ratings. However, the manufacturer has many concerns about flaws in the system that will ultimately be unhelpful for consumers. It is seeking a judicial review of the legislation at the European court of justice, with judgment due in December 2015. Sir James Dyson, whose company pioneered “bagless” vacuums, said he believed the label itself was a good idea, pointing out that he had never made a machine over 1,600 watts. But he said there were many engineering aspects other than the size of the machine to take into account, and he feared strong performing vacuum cleaners would be rated badly and lead the consumer to buy a machine that simply did not work efficiently.

    I have to tip my hat to Dyson. This ruling will benefit him — his vacuums tend to be very efficient. And I think he (and I) would agree that efficient vacuums are a good thing. But he doesn’t want it mandated because he fears (correctly) that people will simply use a bunch of shitty vacuums that don’t do the job and possibly end up using up even more energy.

    The EU has long made itself a laughingstock when it comes to regulation. But this takes the cake. Europe is now addressing global warming through massive taxes, huge subsidies for underperforming green energy, bans on nuclear power and now a ban on high-power vacuums. And they have reduced their carbon footprint by less than the United States has through simple market forces.

    8 comments

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    1. Santino says:

      I would conservatively estimate that the impact of this rule on carbon emissions will be somewhere between jack shit and fuck all.

      Just curious, is your confidence interval calculation based on some sort of peer reviewed research? I can replicate jack shit, I’m having problems with fuck all.

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    2. Xetrov says:

      I would conservatively estimate that the impact of this rule on carbon emissions will be somewhere between jack shit and fuck all.

      Either way, it’s a better impact than Kyoto.

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    3. InsipiD says:

      The story here isn’t about market limitation, but about the feel-goodness of doing nothing. I’m against this sort of market-limiting rule, but this isn’t nearly as big as the way that the US light bulb bans were done, because it will change so little. I realize that plugs in most of the rest of the world are 240v and may supply different amounts of current, but I have to mention that a vacuum above 1,600w here would be very rare, as a standard household 15A circuit can only supply 1,800w. I’ll also mention that 1,560w is 2 horsepower. I’d be surprised if this rule impacts any stuff that a normal consumer would buy, and would amount to a change of less than 15% if it did. The watermelons are probably declaring this to be a huge victory, but it doesn’t mean much but press publicity either way.

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    4. Poosh says:

      I totally voted for this.

      Oh wait, no Brit did.

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    5. AlexInCT says:

      Look behind the curtain for whom made or is going to make some huge money of this idiotic ruling, and you will clearly see the impetus had nothing to do with that sham the watermelons are pushing as the reason for this idiotic ruling. Lots of scumbags have become incredibly rich and lots of governments incredibly more despotic pushing this shit on the idiot masses.

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    6. Rick Macherat says:

      A hundred years ago, who could imagine (fill in any current app.) A hundred years from now, a simple contraption will clean the environment daily, maintaining it perpetually in the state it was in before we even evolved.

      Let our great-grandkids fix it. Now, may I please have my old terlit back?

      Rick … Member #1

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    7. Iconoclast says:

      The EU has long made itself a laughingstock when it comes to regulation. But this takes the cake. Europe is now addressing global warming through massive taxes, huge subsidies for underperforming green energy, bans on nuclear power and now a ban on high-power vacuums. And they have reduced their carbon footprint by less than the United States has through simple market forces.

      That should make CM’s head explode…

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    8. AlexInCT says:

      That should make CM’s head explode…

      I think in his case the proper term is ASS-PLODE!

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