PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 13th March 2007
UK Green MEP Caroline Lucas has launched a bid to ban old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs from sale across the EU, with a written declaration (1) in the European Parliament calling on the Commission to initiate legislation to this end. While the European Council last week called on the Commission to work on measures to improve lighting efficiency in the EU, it stopped short of calling for a ban on incandescent light bulbs, which a number of countries have already proposed (2). Commenting on the initiative, Dr Lucas said:
“What we are calling for is a clear legislative proposal to ban the incandescent light bulb, as other countries have done, and not just some vague commitment to improving the efficiency of lighting. Why should we wait for the outcome of an exhaustive legislative process on lighting efficiency when even the manufacturers are telling us that a switch from incandescent lighting is possible by 2009?
“Introducing such a ban would give these manufacturers a clear legislative incentive to effect this change, bringing the initial cost of efficient bulbs down and enabling the least-well off to benefit from regular substantial savings in their energy bills. It really is a win-win proposal: banning old-fashioned lightbulbs would be a step towards tackling both fuel poverty and climate change.
“Banning old-fashioned light bulbs across the EU would cut carbon emissions by about 20 million tonnes a year – and save between 5 and 8 billion euros a year in domestic fuel bills: incandescent bulbs need to be replaced some 15 times on average before an energy-saving alternative reaches the end of its life. Lighting accounts for 19% of global electricity production and results in emissions equal to 70% of those from passenger cars, so clinging on to the old energy-wasting incandescent bulb contributes millions of unnecessary tonnes of CO2 to the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, fuelling climate change.”
Speaking at the launch, Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi added:
“Clearly, such an initiative would only be one small step on the road to promoting greater energy efficiency, however, if the EU is serious about achieving its energy reduction targets, it needs to take some bold steps now, as well as broader, longer term changes. Mainstreaming more efficient light bulbs would also empower Europe’s consumers to play a concrete role in fighting climate change.”
Editors note: (1) The Written Declaration, which will become the official policy of the European Parliament if it is adopted by more than half its 785 members – has been co-sponsored by three other MEPs: Swedish and Austrian Socialists Jens Holm and Karin Scheeleand Slovenian Liberal Mojca Drcar Murko.The declaration calls on the EU to follow the growing global trend of banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs by 2010, and to launch public information campaigns in all member states – as well as proposing an international ban. Click here for the declaration and for a briefing on banning incandescent lighting. (2) Decisions to this end have already been taken in Cuba, Venezuela, California, Australia and Ontario.