Explainer: the Orange Donald

Should I really need to write this? Its depressing to think that, even now, some slack-jawed deniers will be queuing outside their local lighting shops, demanding the return of the 100W light bulb.


Donald Trump, POTUS across the water, has decided that the reason he always appears to be an unusual shade of orange is nothing to do with his daily personal routines, but everything to do with . . . low energy light bulbs. and, not only that, but we ALL look the same shade of orange because of . . . low-energy light bulbs. and they are DANGEROUS!

Let’s unpack this one, shall we . . .

Firstly, no we don’t all look a strange tone of orange; that is a situation that is almost unique to the Man in the White House. There are probably other orange people around; we just don’t see them on TV as much.

Secondly, the state of low-energy light bulbs. Trump says:

  • the light’s no good; they make everyone look orange
  • they are many time more expensive than incandescent lamps
  • they create hazardous waste if they break

Let’s revisit this old ground, for our younger or more deluded readers:

  • low-energy lamps CAN be awful; compact fluorescent lamps which, personally, I have never had a problem with, are not perfect and there are poor versions out there . . . but I’ve never seen one that makes anyone look orange . . . grey, maybe, but never orange.
    And LEDs , as we are all too aware, can be appalling – but orange . . .nah.
  • yes, high tech lamps are more expensive to make than a glass bubble with a wire filament inside it. Every study ever done has described how the longer life of these beauties more than pays back the initial costs.
    (here’s a parallel: there is an argument that says the humble house brick should never be used because of the energy that goes into its baking. This side of the equation is true, but the humble house brick can last a thousand years, and that repays its making when set against every alternative (other than living in a cave or up a tree – and I’m not sure about the longevity of the tree).
  • if we think of the compact fluorescent source as a stepping stone on the road to a better way of doing things then, yes, it’s not as clean as it might be.But the days of the CFL are done. LEDs bring their own recycling problems; hazardous waste isn’t one of them.

Here’s what I think is the crunch retort to this daft argument. Most of us have only ever seen Trump on the TV, either in a studio – under studio lights, or on a public platform – under stage lighting. None of these sources use poor low-energy lighting . . . the guy still looks orange.

What’s the real deal here? Trump’s pay-off is that he’ll bring back the incandescent bulb. And who stands to benefit from that, other than his friends in the fossil fuel industry ? No one at all, apart from those who really think they look orange . . . when actually, they’re just proving how green they are.

Boom boom (here all week)

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