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China Eliminating Incandescent Lightbulbs

The lights are going out for incandescent bulbs, as China pledges to replace the 1 billion it uses annually with more energy efficient models within five years.

Beijing’s move is a major step in efforts to improve lighting efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Lighting accounts for 19% of electricity use worldwide, according to a 2007 estimate from the International Energy Agency, a figure that could drop to 7% if the rest of the world followed China’s lead, the Global Environment Facility fund said.

The decision by the world’s second largest economy to phase out incandescents follows in the footsteps of Australia, the European Union, Brazil and others.

But according to the Global Environment Facility, incandescents still make up 50-70% of worldwide sales and China’s move forms a striking contrast to the US government’s backsliding on the issue. This summer Republicans drove a bill through the House of Representatives stripping all funding for government enforcement of improved lighting efficiency standards, which come into force next year.

It is unclear whether China will totally phase out production of incandescents. A report from state news agency Xinhua said that “imports and sales” would be banned – seemingly implying that exports would still be allowed.

Campaigners hope China’s plan will nonetheless encourage producers – who make 3.85 billion incandescent bulbs a year, an estimated 70% of the world’s supply – to shift towards other products, in particular CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs. CFLs use around 75% less energy to produce an equivalent amount of light and last much longer.

The country has already become the largest producer of energy-efficient light bulbs, thanks in large part to sizable grants from international environmental agencies.

via China to phase out incandescent lightbulbs | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

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