Fluorescent Bulbs Shine Light on Political Divide
A new study has found that eco-friendly labels on energy-saving light bulbs are repelling conservative customers.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings show that advertising the environmental benefits on the bulbs could be disadvantageous and may turn certain customers off.
The study looked at 210 shoppers and the choices they made when selecting bulbs. About two-thirds of these consumers were women and they were all informed on the benefits of compact fluorescent bulbs over traditional incandescents.
When the bulbs were the same price, shoppers were inclined to choose the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs over the other, no matter their political beliefs. Even when the incandescents had environmental labels the shoppers uniformly choose the CFL bulbs.
However, when the CFL bulbs cost $1.50 instead of the $0.50 for the incandescent, conservatives who had originally chosen the CFL bulb then chose the cheaper of the two without the eco-friendly label.
The study stated, “The more moderate and conservative participants preferred to bear a long-term financial cost to avoid purchasing an item associated with valuing environmental protections.”
After seeing the results of the study, the researchers said, “The research demonstrates how promoting the environment can negatively affect adoption of energy efficiency in the United States because of the political polarization surrounding environmental issues.”
Theda Skocpol, a Harvard academic, wrote a paper showing how climate change and the environment became a huge subject for conservatives. She wrote that Conservative activists elevated opposition to the science behind climate change, and to action on climate change, to core beliefs.
Two years ago, Republicans in Congress battled to repeal a law that attempted to discontinue incandescent bulbs. Even when manufacturers had stated that they had already switched to the energy-saving bulbs, Republicans fought to repeal the law.
Joe Barton, the Texas Republican trying to keep the old-fashioned bulbs stated, "This is about more than just energy consumption. It is about personal freedom.”
Full story at theguardian.