I wrote a piece last week that riffed off Virginia Postrel's excellent rant against California's attempt at legislating incandescent bulbs out of existence. Five years ago, the government of Ontario and the Canadian federal government both set forth a plan to similiarly ban incandescents.
It turns out that replacing inandescents with compact fluorescent bulbs is not as simple as waving a legislative wand. Part of it is consumer resistance -- nobody likes CFLs. But a deeper issue is environmental: CFLs contain mercury, and many of the governments that jumped at getting incandescents out of the stores made no plans for disposing of CFLs.
Quelle surprise, then, to find that the Canadian government has not exactly met its five-year target. As Rachel Mendleson of Canadian Business reports today, Ottawa has very quietly delayed the implementation of the ban until 2014:
As a department spokeswoman told Canadian Business: "The delay is required in order to consider the concerns expressed about availability of compliant technologies and perceived health and mercury issues, including safe disposal for compact fluorescent lamps."
Meanwhile, technology and good sense has a way of teaming up to defeat misguided social engineering. Mendleson reports that Sears has decided to replace all of the incandescents in its stores with not CFLs, but LED lighting -- and even they had to try out a number of brands before finding a bulb that was reliable.