European Union to Phase Out Incandescent Bulbs by 2012
by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor
In a move sure to ignite debate on this side of the Atlantic, the European Union approved the phasing out of incandescent bulbs by 2012. Here in the US, we’re debating which technologies should be allowed to earn a label (Energy Star). Over in Europe, they’ve ended the discussion with multinational governmental action. By following the commission’s proposal, EU citizens will save close to 40 TWh per year, and emissions will go down by 15 million tons of CO2 (according to the European Commission). But there’s a larger issue at hand: should government have such control of industry?
Adoption of the proposal will begin in 2009, with the gradual phasing out of incandescents by 2012. According to the EU’s press release, “It (the regulation) progressively removes incandescent bulbs from the market in a way that allows manufacturers to adapt their production.” The “approved list” includes compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and efficient halogen lamps. What about aesthetic considerations? The EU points once again to the three-year adoption period. The implied hope is that companies will adapt their production to accommodate the proposal while still releasing an attractive product. And if they don’t? Well, by 2012 it will be law. Unless consumers find bulbs on the secondary market, their choices will be limited.
And what if companies are unable to switch production? How many companies will be forced to shut down? These are the hard questions that will need answers, especially if such a proposal ever gains steam in the US.