If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

China Joins the Fray...

China is now more actively seeking to phase out incandescent light bulbs...
Kevan at Savethebulb.org has the most informative article on this, culled from several sources.

Excerpts, with some comments:

Imports and sales of 100 watt and higher incandescent bulbs will be banned from October next year, while those of 60 watts and above will be banned from October 2014
[with more set to follow]

The move has been forced from outside China.
The Global Environment Facility fund, which has invested millions of dollars in China to encourage the phase-out, says that moving to efficient lighting is one of the simplest ways for countries to cut carbon emissions.

Christophe Bahuet, the deputy country director of the United Nations Development Programme, said: “I think what’s important for us is that China is joining an international trend. It also sends a signal that will inspire others.”

Lighting professionals in China are less enthusiastic for the ban. Liu Shengping, the secretary general of the China Association of Lighting Industry, said that it was “unrealistic” to require energy efficient lights were used everywhere. “As long as the demand exists, Chinese manufacturers can hardly pull the plug on the production line.”Wang Jinsui, the president of the China Illuminating Engineering Society, told the China Daily newspaper that the government should consider subsidies because many families would not be able to afford the more expensive energy-efficient bulbs.

Given the massive and typically very poor population in China the personal burden on families of having to pay for expensive compact fluorescent lamps will be very great
[or the subsidies will tax the tax payers, as it were...]

If China increases lamp production then there will be further increases in Cinnabar mining and Mercury production with consequent increases in pollution.

It is also unlikely that China will be any more effective that Europe in managing the collection and recycling of dead CFLs from consumers thereby increasing mercury in land fill.

Yet again the ban appears as a political tool rather than an effective measure towards sustainability!


The ban also clearly has a profit motive for Chinese CFL/LED manufacturers (including outsourced GE, Philips etc production).

Philips and Osram have been involved in other United Nations "switchover" programs.
More on how major light bulb manufacturers have pushed for and welcomed light bulb regulations and CFL programs, with references and documentation copies http://ceolas.net/#li12ax

Apart from affecting people’s freedom of product choice, the actual switchover savings are not that great anyway =
a fraction of 1% of overall energy use is saved from banning the bulbs, similarly in grid usage, as shown by US Dept of Energy, EU statistics and other official information (http://ceolas.net/#li171x) with alternative and much more meaningful ways to save energy in electricity generation, distribution or consumption.

Light bulbs don't burn coal or release CO2.
Power plants might.
If there's a problem - deal with the problem, rather than a token ban on simple safe light bulbs, light bulbs that people obviously like to use (or there would not be the pre-supposed savings in banning them).

No comments: