Traditional lightbulbs banned by EU

Incandescent filament light bulbs use up to five times as much energy as efficient lights Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Traditional light bulbs are to be banned from 2010, EU energy ministers have decided.

Telegraph | Oct 10, 2008

By Louise Gray

The high energy filament bulbs are being phased out in order to improve energy efficiency and meet climate change targets.

The switchover, which will affect all of the European Union’s 500 million citizens, was first ordered at a Brussels summit last year as part of an ambitious energy policy to fight climate change.

A meeting of EU energy ministers, including the UK’s new secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Miliband decided to go ahead with the ban.

The move has previously proved controversial.

Traditional light bulbs are around 38p compared to £1.38 for the cheapest low energy models and campaigners have complained about affordability, as well as the cost of having to adapt fittings for the new bulbs.

The fluorescent bulbs generally take time to warm up and there have been complaints the light is too dim and has a tendency to flicker.

There are also worries over how the bulbs will be disposed of. Under new regulations for hazardous waste, councils are obliged to recycle low energy bulbs at considerable cost to the tax payer.

Incandescent filament light bulbs use up to five times as much energy as efficient lights such as “compact fluorescent lamps” (CFLs).

Advocates claim that replacing the worst-performing lamps with today’s best available technology will reduce domestic energy consumption for lighting by 60 per cent in the EU, equivalent to saving 30 million tons of CO2 pollution every year.

However questions remain over the cost, health impact and aesthetic quality of the new low-energy fluorescent bulbs.

There have been concerns low energy bulbs can cause headaches, rashes and even sunburn. If the bulbs break the toxic mecury inside can cause migraine and dizziness. The bulbs are also too big for some old-fashioned fittings, can look out of place in historic homes and are generally more expensive – although the EU has vowed cost will come down before 2010.

The Health Protection Agency warned consumers they should not stay close to open energy saving bulbs for more than an hour.

Environmental groups welcomed the ruling.

Mariangiola Fabbri , World Wildlife Fund energy policy officer, said legislation is needed to ensure energy efficiency.

She said: “Keeping energy efficiency as an optional tool will not lead us towards the much needed 30 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020.”

Energy ministers also discussed the controversial target to generate 20 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 at the meeting. The UK has argued that aviation should be removed from the target because it is not yet possible to run aeroplanes on renewables and it could ground the industry. But most other EU ministers at the meeting agreed aviation should remain part of the target.

The EU council is due to meet next week to discuss the target to reduce carbon emission by 20 per cent by 2020. Previously the EU had pledged this will be increased to 30 per cent as long as the rest of the developed world does the same.

But environmentalists fear this pledge will be dropped in the light of the economic crisis, scuppering hoped of an ambitious world target at the UN climate change talks planned for Copenhagen next year.


11 responses to “Traditional lightbulbs banned by EU

  1. I think it’s time for people to get on board with more energy efficient lights. We’ve been using the same “light technology” for the last 100 years. It’s only in europe and north america people can “chose” to have one type of bulb or the other. Go to any third world country, where electricity is actually expencive for the local incomes. They all already have the energy savings bulbs.

    Instead of digging your heals to save the “old bulb” how about encouraging developing other types of save energy bubls.

    If electricity prices spikes up 3 or 4 times it’s prices, people who complain about the “energy bulbs” invading their lives would be the first to run to the store and get them. It’s the same thing with SUVs in US, everyone wanted one because gas was cheep, now everyone is chasing Honda Civics.

    People have to stop being spoiled and wasteful. I got my energy savings bulbs in IKEA for $1, less then a decent regular bulb. And they have special shapes that fit almost everything, because IKEA has them made to fit their small fixtures and lamps. These bulbs have been working in my house now for over 3 years.

    It’s too bad government has to “force” people to change bulbs, but then again something has to force change. Change does not happen on it’s own. Most people are creatures of habit.

  2. You seem to adore the government and it’s use of force over the free market. One wonders what else you would approve of. Perhaps forced sterilization and permits to have children? That is the next step after they have completely removed all our rights.

  3. The Free Market can’t solve everything.

    Sometimes, constraints have to be changed, so that the market will work out something new, adapting to the changed constraints.

    The Free Market’s achilles heel is Worse Is Better — the market doesn’t develop the best products but those that entail the most profit for vendors and the least change for consumers. That’s why new technology always needs an outside stimulus, where the market needs to be nudged into action.

  4. Matt,

    Do you believe in global warming, socialism and world government?

    Do you support the Club of Rome, RIIA, CFR and the EU?

    Do you have any idea who runs the world and what they are trying to do with it?

    Just curious.

  5. It makes me wonder at times about some uneducated opinions of ignorant people. These low energy saving bulbs have government health agencies testing these bulbs with proof that they are dangerous! Now they`re saying they DO NOT save you money on your electrical bill from “government testing” as well.This was on the news tonight! Also I myself have changed over my bulbs due to the energy saving and a reduction on my electric bill that I was supposed to be getting… I noticed no savings but did notice my sons excema worsen over the past two years. It has never been this bad and now I will try to find the last of the incadescent light bulbs on the market and see if I can help my son s excema clear up so he`s not in such agony.
    It`s too bad the government couldn`t force people to become more educated before they have their say!

  6. Yes, stock up on incandescents, rice, beans, water, silver and gold. How could billions of very expensive mercury-laden bulbs be better for the environment, especially when the planet is actually in a cooling phase right now? It’s very similar to them pushing the mercury-laden vaccinations on us, all for our “safety”. When people learn to stop being suckers, we might have a fighting chance to live free from the predations of the elites who push all these lies on us.

  7. pjwalker: “Global warming” isn’t a matter of “belief” — it’s what the majority of scientists say is happening. Don’t know if the planet is in a “cooling phase”, from what I’ve followed, climatologists say it’s warming up.

    Socialism — yes, to some extent. Obviously neither a completely free market nor its opposite, a centrally planned economy work well. Something balanced in between is imho best suited for human societies..

    For the mercury, allegedly more mercury is released into the atmosphere in coal power plants when burning coal to operate a regular lightbulb than what is in a fluorescent bulb.

    Don’t know about the type of light’s effect on excema so won’t comment onthat.

    I don’t think the world is “run” by anyone or any single group in particular. That’s just nonsense.

  8. Well, Matt. You obviously just sit in front of the boob tube an lap up propaganda all day long without any critical thought involved. I will give you a chance to catch up with reality. Go to the Global Warming Hoax section. There are 300 articles there that support my claims. If you don’t get it from that, there is no hope for you. The planet cooled from the 50s to the 70s. It warmed up during the 80s and 90s. Now its cooling back down again. The climate changes. The sun is the driver of climate change. Get used to it.

    And have you never heard of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group etc all of whom meet in secret with the heads of media in attendance? Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the heads of media do not report on these meetings to the general public?

  9. pjwalker:

    I’m not really that much interested in what you have to say on the issue since you’re apparently not an expert in the field of climatology. I’m not interested in your “300 articles”, either. I’m interested in what climatologists around the world say on the issue, and what they do say is pretty clear, and it’s quite the opposite of what you claim.

    As for your conspiracy theories (or rather, hypotheses? speculations?) — ridiculous.

  10. Well Matt, you are a moron then. You don’t see any problem with the heads of media not reporting on the Bilderberg meetings because you are just stupid from dumbing down, both intellectually and morally. I don’t have to be an economist to figure out that we are all getting screwed by the bailout scam either. Good luck to you and your socialist New World Order minion friends because you are in for a fight all the way.

    And here is the former supervisor of one of the leaders of your global warming scam:

    Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was “was never muzzled.” Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results,” Theon, the former Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA Headquarters and former Chief of the Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch explained.

    “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress,” Theon wrote. [Note: NASA scientist James Hansen has created worldwide media frenzy with his dire climate warning, his call for trials against those who dissent against man-made global warming fear, and his claims that he was allegedly muzzled by the Bush administration despite doing 1,400 on-the-job media interviews!]

  11. Come on Matt. Tell us more about your global warming scam because I will destroy each and every one of your lies with facts. By the way, are you a climatologist? No, I didn’t think so, but you ARE a stupid punk for Al Gore.

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