11/24/2009 09:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

California's Energy Regulators Look Backwards

Golden State regulators have found a new toy. The California Energy
Commission has just approved a measure to force television
to produce new models by 2013 that cut energy consumption by 50%.
According to the commission, total household energy consumption from
television sets has climbed to 10% up from 3-4% in the 1990s. There are
a couple of reasons for this growth, including the new generation of
screen sets as well as similar regulations for other household
which has reduced their comparative energy use.

However, this particular regulation seems after the fact. First, in
who can be sure where we will be watching our visual entertainment?
Technological convergence is already with us—we're now watching
live streaming via smartphones, laptops, home computers—and there will
more advancements coming down the pike. Conventional
television still dominates, but this is going to change dramatically
within the next decade.

How does this regulation really affect long term climate change
planning? It's not unlike taxing buggy whips after the Model T came to
market. Perhaps the commission would be better off discussing this
with those in the know—homegrown CEOs at the technology companies in
their own
state, such as Apple, Intel or ebay.

Or they might think about talking to the state's Department of Education and
campaigning for a "no television" day once a month. That would really
cut down on
energy usage.

Jonathan A. Schein is the publisher of and