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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Traditional Lightbulb Banned in Europe

The EU has banned the conventional lightbulb, in use now for over a century. The 100-watt and frosted incandescent lightbulb are the targets of a law agreed upon by some 27 European countries last year. Several other countries, including Australia and the United States, have announced plans to phase-out the traditional lightbulb, as well. The idea is to force consumers to switch to newer halogen bulbs which use up to 80% less electricity.

While created last year, the law is only now starting to be enforced and consumers are stockpiling the "old-fashioned" bulbs for various reasons, including objections to the high cost of new lightbulbs, as well as good, old-fashioned nostalgia. Some say the newer bulbs provide harsher light which can cause headaches and even rashes in sensitive people.

The law is one of many approaches countries are taking to help the environment, as well as to adapt to the ever-growing Earth's population which is depleting resources at a phenomenal rate. Traditional lightbulbs are hoped to be phased-out entirely by 2012.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009


Lighthouse said...

The strange and unpublicised EU and industrial politics that went on before the ban took place:

Europeans, like Americans, choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10 (light industry data 2007-8)
Banning what people want gives the supposed savings that's good for them - no point in banning an impopular product!

If new LED lights -or improved CFLs- are good,
people will buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
If they are not good, people will not buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).

The arrival of the transistor didn't mean that more energy using radio valves were banned... they were bought less anyway.

Supposed savings don't actually hold up, for many reasons:
(http://www.ceolas.net#li13x onwards
about brightness, lifespan, power factor, lifecycle, heat effect of ordinary bulbs, and other referenced research)

Effect on Electricity Bills
If energy use does indeed fall with light bulb and other proposed efficiency bans,
electricity companies make less money,
and they’ll simply push up the electricity bills to compensate
(not least in USA where power companies often have their own grids with little supply competition)
Energy regulators can hardly deny any such cost covering exercise...

There is no shortage of energy.
People -not politicians – pay for energy use, and if there was an energy shortage, the price rise would lead to more demand for efficient products anyway – no need to legislate for it.

Does a light bulb give out any gases?
Power stations might not either:
Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
Low emission households already dominate some regions, and will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology and/or energy substitution.

A direct way to deal with emissions (for all else they contain too, whatever about CO2):

The Taxation alternative
A ban on light bulbs is extraordinary, in being on a product safe to use.
We are not talking about banning lead paint here.
It's just about energy consumption amounts.

Even for those who remain pro-ban, taxation to reduce consumption would therefore make much more sense, also since governments can use the income to reduce emissions (home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc) more than any remaining product use causes such problems.

A few pounds/euros/dollars tax that reduces the current sales (EU like the USA 2 billion sales per annum, UK 250-300 million pa)
raises future billions, and would retain consumer choice.
It could also be revenue neutral, lowering any sales tax on efficient products.


However, taxation is itself unjustified, it is simply preferable to bans for all concerned.

Maybe the rising controversy of it will influence American and Canadian debate?

Manodogs said...

Hi Panta,

First of all, thank you so much for your informative comment. I hope to hear more from you in the future!

As to your comment, you make several valid points and I agree with you whole-heartedly. As far as the whole "green" thing goes, The Weirding is all for everyone being more conscientious of the ecology, but there is whole lot of political posturing and even more lip-service conservationists. This seems to fit into that general heading.

If you want to really make a difference, ban SUVs!

Lighthouse said...

Thanks ManoDogs,

yes I saw some other interesting posts you had too.. like the stomach being like a second brain, sounds plausible enough to me!

Yes, an annoying thing about banning bulbs - a bit like "trading in CO2 allowances" that you may have heard of - is that it's wrong also if you think something could/should actually be done about emissions...

"where there's a problem - deal with the problem"!