This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I am not opposed to CFLs in any way. They have improved immensely. They cast a light that is now quite pleasant. They are more expensive, but my mother bought one of the first ones more than 20 years ago. It lasted more than 15 years. I have had a couple of them fail, but they failed as a result of my hammer like finesse. I snapped one off its base and dropped the other one. This was before I knew that you were supposed to call in the EPA upon breaking them and I didn't follow all of the proper cleanup guidelines, so be wary if you enter my home.
That said. The loss of energy saving comes in the form of 1 activity, increased usage. It is so much cheaper to run these bulbs that I don't worry about always turning them off when I leave the room. I remember being told specifically growing up NOT to turn off the lights in school because of the increased draw on ignition. When you turned the lightswitch on in a class room though you were turning on 30+ bulbs.
CFLs do make sense just as long as you like how you look in the mirror when you turn them on.
One problem with CFLs is that they are dim when you first turn them on. If you have one in a shed or a closet or somewhere similar where you want to retrieve things quickly, you have to wait a while before they reach a useful level of illumination. An incandescent bulb does not have this problem.
The retailers will have asked themselves why the major manufacturers, like GE, are so keen on the new technology.
And of course their sources of supply may be compromised by the push to these new technologies.
But I think in themain they see a short term opportunity to make big money, compared to the incandescents, from the floor space and need to be early in the market to make any sense of it is the bulbs do ndeed prove to last longer in practice across all failure types.
Remember these are people who are, relatively, masters at relieving people of their hard earned. Or even their tax funded handouts.
Re: lights in the closet. This is one place (and there are others) where there is practically no savings. Closet lights are off 99+% of the time. It makes no sense (at least for the individual user) to replace incandescents in closets on the argument that energy will be saved. The "you will save energy" mantra applies only to those lights that are on for long periods.
I would agree with you except that experience of my younger daughter's habits with closet (in this case just wardrobe rather than a room) lights suggests otherwise! The lights in her wordrobe are activated by the doors - which she tends to leave open rather a lot.
This also applies to the TV, etc. which she will leave on whilst she is watching programs on the main TV downstairs. Her older sister does the same thing so I assume that it is some sort of social programming. Also lights in general tend to be on rather than off.
However whilst anyone reading that might think my house if likely to be above average in the wasteful measures ths is not the case. Both spend most of their time away from home as students during which periods their consumption (here at my house) is non-existent.
So I feel we are doing more than enough.
BTW I see the lead article in the New Scientist this week suggests that the only country in the world living a comfortable and sustainable existence is Cuba.
Anyone have any comments about that? (Maybe should be another thread?)
"BTW I see the lead article in the New Scientist this week suggests that the only country in the world living a comfortable and sustainable existence is Cuba."
That must account for why the world is queueing up to emigrate there.
Grant, maybe we should ask any Cuban not a member of the Communist Party.
It occurs to me that we could enforce Cuban holidays to prepare people for the life they will need to adapt to. Though I would guess that the concepts of the Cuban would not travel well to, say, Manchester on a wet Wednesday.
The sustainability factor is easy to understand of course. For example when new things are in short supply - cars are probably the most evident items in Cuba - one finds way to keep them going since replacement is not an option. A 50 to 60 year car life is pretty remarkable really considering they are for real use rather than hobby use.
I could see the EU liking that concept but not the safety angle or static to "getting worse" CO2 emissions.
But overall setting Cuba as the yardstick might be a good thing. At least we can then turn to the 'authorites' and point out that they are setting standards for living that are unnecessarily lower than Cuba's when they get serious about social destruction. I'll give that about 5 years if the current direction continues.