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Thursday, May 17, 2007

US senators propose a light bulb ban
Antony Froggatt has passed on the following news from the US, where 3 senators are proposing a domestic incandescent light bulb ban. A lot seems to be happening on this front in the US and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

South Carolina is attempting to follow the lead of Australia and the European Union by enforcing the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Three senators proposed legislation that would ban the selling of traditional incandescent light bulbs after 2017, the Tribune Regional News reported.

State Sens. John Drummond, Phil Leventis and Vincent Sheheen would ban the bulbs in an attempt to reduce electricity usage and carbon dioxide emissions, though the measure is causing debate.

"I don't think the government has any business telling us what kind of light bulb to use," said state Rep. Phillip Lowe.

There's another bill on the table that caused a little less opposition. It would require people to replace their burnt-out incandescent bulbs with CFLs as they need new bulbs.

Other U.S. states are also considering similar legislation. In New Jersey, there's a bill to replace all the bulbs in government buildings, and similar proposals have been introduced in California, Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island.

CFLs cost a little more but last longer and are more efficient. But issues of disposal have yet to be worked out. The CFLs have traces of mercury in them.

Unfortunately none of the attention grabbing proposals to ban incandescents, made anywhere in the world, have yet made it into binding legislation and there is a danger that light bulb bans have been announced in order to silence critics rather than drive meaningful change.

Places such Australia, Canada, California and the EU have all announced light bulb bans, to great applause, but none have said how their bans will be implemented.

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