World governments adopting bright idea.

AuthorHerro, Alana
PositionEYE ON EARTH - Using fluorescent lamps to cut energy costs

From Australia to Russia, governments are now promoting and even mandating the use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and other energy-efficient light bulbs to address concerns about rising energy costs and climate change. Lighting absorbs nearly one-fifth of global electricity generation, more than is produced by hydroelectric or nuclear power stations and about the same amount as is produced from natural gas, according to a 2006 International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

Australia will be the first country to ban inefficient incandescent bulbs, with a complete phase-out planned by 2009. "By that stage you simply won't be able to buy incandescent light bulbs, because they won't meet the energy standard," said environment minister Malcolm Turnbull. Australians are among the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters per capita, and the country has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. But severe drought has led to rising environmental concern. According to Turnbull, the new law will reduce Australia's current emissions by 800,000 metric tons per year by 2012 and cut household lighting costs by 66 percent.

Lawmakers in California, New Jersey, the United Kingdom, Canada, and a growing number of other locales hope to follow Australia's lead. Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty estimates that a ban on incandescent bulbs would save enough energy to shut down one coal-fired power plant...

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