UN Urges Phase Out Of Incandescent Bulbs, Guarantees Their Survival In USA


Eco Piggy Lamp from Ariel Rojo Design Studio

In America, Joe Barton introduced BULB, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, to repeal legislation that set minimum efficiency standards and would phase out incandescent bulbs. He's quoted in the New York Times:

The unanticipated consequence of the '07 act - Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession - is one of many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers.

In Cancun, The UN World Government says the opposite, issuing a report that says billions of dollars and tonnes of carbon could be saved if incandescent bulbs were phased out.
Eco Piggy seen at Chicago Art Institute Gift Shop, Credit Lloyd Alter

UNEP notes in their report:


  • Globally, 50 to 70 per cent of total lighting market sales are still of inefficient incandescent lamps. A market shift, from incandescent lamps to energy-efficient alternatives, would cut the world's electricity demand for lighting by over 2 per cent.

  • The total global GHG emissions accrued to lighting electricity consumption was estimated in 2005 by the IEA at 1,889 MtCO2 of which grid based lighting systems contribute to 1,528 MtCO2. This is equivalent to approximately 8 per cent of world emissions or 70 per cent of the world passenger vehicle emissions.

  • Up to 95 per cent of the energy emitted by incandescent lamps is heat, and their efficiency is inherently low. Comparing the two types of lighting, incandescent bulbs last around 1,000 hours which is significantly shorter than energy saving lamps, with life spans of 6,000 to 12,000 hours.

They acknowledge that the mercury in compact fluorescents is a problem, but note that it is not much, that it is constantly being reduced, that it is far less than is emitted by power plants, and that solid state lighting will soon replace it anyways.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, Michele Bachmann says:

"Fundamentally, it is an issue of freedom, It's about whether people are able to make even the most basic decisions anymore or whether Big Brother will control every aspect of their lives."

Rob Watson writes in Greener Buildings News today:

To be sure, CFLs are not perfect technology; what is? However, they are neither the health hazard nor the one-world government black helicopters they are made out to be. Undoubtedly, in the wake of the UNEP initiative, the Internet will once again be flooded with the apocryphal story about the Maine homeowner who was told that she needed a hazardous waste company to come and remove her broken compact fluorescent from her living room.

No doubt having the UN come put in favour of phaseout will be well received by Joe Barton and Michele as well.

More on CFLs

The $ 2000 CFL Cleanup: Where Urban Myths Come From
Selfish, Uninformed Europeans Hoarding Incandescents as Ban on 100 Watt Bulbs Takes Effect Today
We Love Our Gorebulbs!

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