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More Countries Agree to Phase-out Inefficient Light bulbs at Rio+20: reducing global warming pollution

Jake Schmidt

Posted June 22, 2012

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When people around the world turn on their lights, most of them waste energy and their money as their light bulbs meet outdated requirements for how much energy they can use. In the process they emit global warming pollution as their inefficient lights are often powered by carbon polluting sources of energy (although renewable electricity is a growing source of energy in many countries). So it is welcome news at Rio+20 that more countries have committed to phase-out inefficient light bulbs by 2016.

At Rio+20 fourteen countries joined a UNEP/GEF effort to phase-out inefficient light bulbs –called en.lighten – that works with countries to implement standards for the maximum amount of energy that they can use.  These countries join the growing number of countries that have taken such action as the recent map from UNEP/GEF shows (see figure and clck on map to see an interactive en.lighten map with details on each country). 

UNEP-GEF Lighting Policy Map.PNGAccording to analysis from en.lighten, a transition to efficient lighting would result in annual worldwide savings of over US$ 110 billion and reduce carbon dioxide pollution by 490 megatonnes (Mt) per year—equivalent to the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars.

A growing number of countries are starting to realize these benefits and have passed laws or regulations to phase-out inefficient light bulbs.  For example:

There are many light bulbs on the market that provide consumers huge energy savings while still providing the same type of lighting services and choices.

So these 14 countries are committed to join the growing number of countries that are phasing-out these inefficient light bulbs, saving their consumers money and reducing global warming pollution.  This is a positive step which was one of our key climate and energy expectations for Rio+20.

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peter dublinJun 22 2012 08:20 PM

The actual switchover energy savings are a fraction of 1% of national energy use, or 1% of grid energy - and that is still not taking account of the greater energy use in manufacture, transport and recycling of the complex replacements.

As referenced with US dept of Energy, EU and Canada institutional data,
"The deception behind lighting switchover to save energy"

Energy saving is not the ONLY reason for choosing a light bulb you want to use, light quality and much else matters too.

Philips and Osram are involved in that program of a worldwide replacement of simple, safe, cheap ordinary but patent-expired bulbs
for complex more profitable patented CFL and LED alternatives made by - yes - Philips and Osram ;-)

It is akin to banning simple cheap penicillin, so that more expensive patented drugs can be sold in third world countries.
"Philips, Osram, the UN and the World Bank: How we will en.lighten the World in 2012"

Anony MousJun 24 2012 06:08 PM

I agree with the comment peter left above. The new cfl's and led lights don't use a power factor of 1 (incandescent do), instead being in the range of 0.7 - 0.9 usually. Old analog meters couldn't account for this but the new digital smart meters can - so you won't see as much savings as this article states.

The real question is: what do you want out of a light bulb? For me the answer is I want a light bulb that provides me with the best quality of light possible. In this case, that is a blackbody, full spectrum light. Incandescent's do that. Flourescent and led lights only give off emission spectrum light - meaning you're not getting the full spectrum. This means that it's not as good of quality of light and thus harder on your eyes.

The only real reason for this switchover is money, for the light bulb manufacturing companies.

The sad part is that the replacements are inferior in almost every aspect. They have even started fires because of cheap components.

Given the choice, I'd rather spend a few extra bucks on electricity and have a better quality light source. The author's vision doesn't account for the full picture. There is a lot more on the table than just saving energy. It's also about getting a good quality of light, it's about greed from the light manufacturing companies, and it's about the government over-reaching into our lives where it doesn't belong.

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