Choose your metaphor: losing sight of the forest for the details of the leaves in the trees, Pyrrhic victory, you name it. All could be applied to this study here, which looks at countries and states according to how much mercury would drop or rise in their air if they switched from incandescent lighting to compact fluorescent lighting. Astoundingly, they come out against a mandate to make the lighting switch, arguing that:
“All sustainability issues are local,” said Zimmerman. “We need to ask if we should be making decisions on a national level, or if this is something better left to local governments.”
Bzzzzzzt. Sorry, fatally wrong answer!
Actually, not all sustainability issues are local. Mercury effects are localized, but greenhouse gas emissions are, sadly, quite global.
This is really frightening — a graduate-level study of how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, long after the iceberg has holed the ship.