Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Australia to Ban Incandescent Light Bulbs

. Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Australia has announced it will ban incandescent light bulbs in three years in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, becoming the first country to do away with this technology, which has been in use for more than a century.

Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement Tuesday, saying replacing incandescent light bulbs with florescent bulbs would cut 800,000 tonnes from Australia's current emissions levels by 2012.

A model of an 1879 street light burns in the Edison Museum in Edison, N.J., in front of a portrait of inventor Thomas A. Edison. Australia announced on Tuesday it would become the first nation to ban the venerable technology.

"It'll be illegal to sell a product that doesn't meet [an energy efficiency] standard, so that will happen by 2009 [or] 2010," Turnbull told ABC radio in Australia. "So by that stage, you simply won't be able to buy incandescent light bulbs because they won't meet the energy standard."
Opposition parties welcomed the ban but said it would still leave the government six million tonnes short of its target to reduce emissions to 597 million tonnes annually, or 108 per cent of 1990 emission levels.

The standard incandescent bulb, developed for the mass market more than 125 years ago, consists of a metal filament glowing white-hot in a vacuum. They have become a target of advocates for energy efficiency because they lose most of their energy as heat.
Turnbull said the switch to florescent bulbs would lower household lighting costs by 66 per cent.

Lawmakers in two U.S. states — California and New Jersey — and in the United Kingdom have also proposed bills to ban incandescent bulbs.

One Change, an Ottawa-based not-for-profit organization, is among those spearheading the move to florescent bulbs in Canada with a program called Project Porchlight.

The group is working with volunteers and community groups to give one florescent light bulb to every household in Canada. The group, with the backing of Hydro Ottawa, has replaced 250,000 bulbs in Ottawa. They've also begun similar campaigns in Whitehorse, Thunder Bay and Guelph.