EU to ban inefficient light bulbs. Eventually. Sort of

Posted by jamie — 12 December 2008 at 8:36am - Comments

If you've been wondering what's been happening on the light bulb front since our Woolworths campaign last year (and much as they were in our bad books, it's sorry to see them go), there's been some developments on the European stage where politicians have been voting on plans to improve their efficiency and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the EU.

The good news is that, on Tuesday, the EU has at long last agreed on a ban of inefficient incandescent light bulbs; the somewhat worse news is that we'll have to wait several years for it to come into full effect. In the meantime, inefficient bulbs will still be on sale and given the desperate need to reduce emissions, it's not enough and it's not soon enough.

This mish-mash of an agreement will see the end of incandescent bulbs in 2012, but halogen bulbs - which also gobble up huge amounts of electricity compared to CFLs or LEDs - will still be available for another eight years until 2016. Beyond 2016, only bulbs given a 'B' energy rating will be on the shelves, but given that there are already plenty of bulbs with 'A' ratings on sale now, it seems like a wasted opportunity not to insist on the highest possible energy efficiency standards.

To put that into context, it will more than halve the amount of energy that could have been saved between now and 2020 if a more rigorous deal had been put through.

It means there'll be less of an incentive for manufacturers to invest in developing increasingly efficient products, and will still be able to make a short-term buck on old-fashioned, energy hungry bulbs. After the surprisingly good deal agreed on renewable energy, it's disappointing to say the least that what could have been a big, symbolic act to improve energy efficiency has been so marvellously fudged.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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