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Australia Bans Incandescent Bulb

This fluorescent bulb uses 20% of an old-fashioned incandescent to produce the same amount of light

The Australian government has announced a plan to completely phase out incandescent light bulbs, replacing them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescents. The plan requires that the energy-eating bulbs be gradually banned from sale, though there are exemptions for special circumstances such as medical lighting and oven lights. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull speculated that the plan could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012 and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent.

The "old-fashioned" incandescent bulbs were famously designed by Thomas Edison in the late 19th century. With incandescent bulbs, electricity flows through filament to create light. But, a lot of energy is wasted in the form of heat. Fluorescent bulbs use only about 20 percent of the power to produce the same amount of light. They are currently more expensive, but also last longer than incandescents.

Most people welcomed the plan as a "first step," but noted that that light bulbs use only a fraction of the Australia's energy. Most of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions still come from the coal-powered industry, which environmentalists believe is the real culprit and that targeted emission reductions and alternative renewable energy sources are greatly needed.

The light bulb plan has also been appearing in other legislations such as in California and New Jersey. Two years ago, Cuba’s Fidel Castro sent youth brigades to their homes to switch regular bulbs for energy-saving ones to help battle electrical blackouts. Castro's friend and ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has also announced his own light bulb plan and recently given away millions of incandescent bulbs nationwide.

Source: Time Magazine

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June 18, 2019, 6:38 pm PDT

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