World's Leading Coal Exporter Gets a Bright Idea!

Australia will be the world's first country to ban incandescent lightbulbs in a bid to curb Greenhouse gas emissions, with the government saying on Tuesday they would be phased out within three years.


I don't know if incandescents are banned in Cuba, but they haven't been imported for a while, and I didn't see any when I was there - in hotels, in houses, anywhere. Sure, it was about solving an energy shortage - but if a poorer country like Cuba can make the switch, surely we all can.

I am feeling so vindicated for shelling out the money for my “better lightbulbs”, compact fluorescent bulbs. I am also feeling rather miffed that those purchses were made over 10 years ago, and the amount of carbon we could have kept from the atmosphere if everyone had done it would be significant now. On a technical note , the article did not come up from the link on the home page of DeSmogBlog, and so here is a link to the Reuters copy of it: quote :”the banning of incandescent bulbs would help trim 800,000 tonnes from Australia’s current emissions level by 2012 and lower household lighting costs by 66 per cent.” DUH!!!

Banning incandescents might be a good idea in Australia, but probably not so smart where we heat our houses most of the year. People forget that every kilowatt-hour of electrical energy becomes dissipated as heat. Your light bulbs, dehumidifier, computer, even your refrigerator contribute exactly the same amount of heat as an electric heater of the same wattage. They are somewhat less efficient because the heat isn’t necessarily put where it’s needed; nevertheless appliance energy costs are greatly overstated by people who fail to include the reduced load on the heating system. Or understated, if the main load is cooling rather than heating. My concern is that in some cases, we’re being sold a “green” choice that isn’t. Filament bulbs surely have a lower manufacturing impact than flourescents, and I’m sure I’ll recapture all the “waste” heat from those in the basement, desk lamps, etc. Those on the upper level ceilings I’m not so sure. Similarly with other appliances. At what point does the environmental advantage of a more efficient refrigerator outweigh the environmental costs of manufacturing it, and disposing of the old one? I suspect that it depends on your local climate. When you’re using electric baseboard heaters, the energy cost of your appliances is close to zero. If you’re using air conditioning, it’s more than doubled. (More because of inefficiencies.) It’s only when you are not using energy to either heat or cool your home that your overall energy use is that drawn by the appliance itself. For me, now that the heating season is coming to a close, it’s time to buy a box of compact flourescents.

When you relamp with compact fluorescents (or white LEDs), make sure you have a way to avoid blue light during the last three hours before you want to feel sleepy. — There are a few compact fluorescents available that filter out all or most of the blue range, without being monochromatic ‘bug light yellow’ or amber. – Most fluorescents output a spectrum like these, even the “warm white” ones – – – Some info here: – Some science and discussion, though everything they are selling is available cheaper elsewhere:

Thanks for the tip about avoiding blue light. How can you tell if a compact flourescent lightbulb filters out the blue range?

While this is a small step forward for the Howard Government of Australia, it must be put in context. Banning incandescent bulbs will take care of about 1-3 per cent of the emissions reductions Australia should be making by 2020. It’s a token initiative in the face of massive coal expansion – coal exports and planned coal-fired power plants. Unfortunately neither major political party is willing to tackle the coal dependency of Australia in a meaningful way.

Interesting concept by Australian big brother. I gather that the objective is not to simply make incandescents non-competitive, but to ban them completely. Does that mean that Aussies will have to send millions of perfectly good trilite reading lamps to the dump? What will mechanics do for trouble lights? Anybody know the answers to these queries?