Coal, Incandescents and Conservation

I’m writing on the south bank of the Columbia River here in Boardman, Oregon (population 3,500). I went running last night at sunset . . . oh my. Beautiful; what a joy. I found deer tracks on the sandy beach and looked to the west, where Mount Hood was a tiny, rosy peak in the far distance.

Oregon’s only coal-fired energy plant was just a few miles to the south. This is the plant that supplies about 20% of the state’s energy, and the one that the Oregonian reported yesterday to be polluting the state’s air even more than previously thought. And coal emissions are a prime cause of global warming.

How about some energy conservation? Here in my hotel room, if and when I turn on the bathroom light, I immediately am hit with waves of heat from all of eight incandescent light-bulbs, each the size of my fist. Most hotels in the U.S. are still wasting energy like this. Compact fluorescents (CFL’s) would use 75% less energy, creating 75% less emissions.

In my view, incandescent light bulbs should soon become not legal-and-rare, but simply illegal. Freedom has to be tempered by responsibility. Fighting climate change is more important than being free to waste energy.

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1 Response to “Coal, Incandescents and Conservation”


  1. 1 Tall Mike March 19, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Most people would think we in Oregon use mostly clean hydro-power as our main source of electicity. But our State is only 44% hydro. Fossil fuels makes up about 50%. Renewables are about 1%. The rest is bio-mass based and nuclear.

    http://www.oregonecology.com/2007/09/oregon-power-generation.html

    I agree with the compact flouresccent light bulbs. I installed all compact flourescents a few years ago and my electricty bill dropped about 25%!


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