How many Australians does it take to change every lightbulb?

Looks like Australia has beat California to the punch with plans to phase out incandescent lightbulbs by 2010, according to this AP story on Yahoo News.

We previously wrote about how California is considering banning incandescent light bulbs.

Claiming a world first for a national government, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said incandescent lightbulbs would be phased out by 2010 in favour of the more fuel-efficent compact fluorescent bulbs.

He said replacing the traditional coiled filament bulbs invented by Thomas Edison in the 19th century would cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by four million tonnes a year by 2015.

“If the whole world switches to these bulbs today, we would reduce our consumption of electricity by an amount equal to five times Australia’s annual consumption of electricity,” Turnbull said.

“The climate change challenge is a global one. I encourage other countries to follow Australia’s lead and make the switch to more energy efficient products like compact fluorescent light bulbs.”

Once again, I can’t help but wonder if legislating what kind of light bulb people use is a bit heavy handed. What happens when LED light bulbs improve, come down in price, and make fluorescent bulbs obsolete? Do they pass another law, or are we then stuck with a law that makes people use a less efficient bulb?

By the way, I say this as a person who has swapped out almost every single one of my own bulbs at home for compact fluorescents.


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