PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 17 February 2009
The European Parliament environment committee today rejected an attempt by German EPP and Liberal MEPs to block a proposed phase-out of the most energy inefficient light bulbs in the EU.
Finnish Green and vice-chair of the EP environment committee Satu Hassi commented:
“The misleading media campaign by certain populist politicians has resulted in serious misunderstanding about the proposed phase-out. It is now important to properly put it into practice and ensure that consumers and retailers are kept fully informed.
“Health concerns have been raised with regard to CFL bulbs and it is vital that these concerns are treated seriously. We welcome the fact that the measure will continue to allow the sale of most efficient halogen light bulbs, as well as the ultra-efficient LED bulbs, which ensures there are alternatives for those who feel they experience health problems from CFLs. While not as efficient as CFL or LED bulbs, halogen bulbs provide the same quality of light as inefficient incandescent bulbs.
“It is important that bulb manufacturers are fully committed to giving their customers the maximum safety information about their products. CFL light bulbs contain mercury and, while it is only in miniscule amounts, this means they must be properly recycled, as with standard batteries. “The proposed measure will save consumers across the EU between €5 billion and €10 billion a year on their electricity bills. Around 40 TWh of electricity will be avoided – the equivalent of the yearly output of 10 average power stations (500 megawatt). The phase-out will also reduce climate-damaging CO2 emissions by around 15 million tonnes per year.”
“While the measure does not go as far as we would have liked, it is a hugely important step for the EU. It is crucial that it does not become a vehicle for irresponsible populists to stir up public opposition based on misinformation.”