Australia to fully phase out incandescent bulbs by 2010

In a world first, Australia will officially make the switch away from incandescent bulbs. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said today that the country would phase out inefficient lighting over the next three years, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions hundreds of thousands of tons a year and cutting household lighting costs up to 66 percent. “If the rest of the world follows our lead,” he said, “this will reduce an amount of energy … to the tune of five times as much energy as Australia consumes.” Similar bulb-banning campaigns are gaining steam in the U.K. and California, with compact fluorescents — which cost more up front but last four to 10 times longer and use 20 percent of the energy of incandescents — appearing as the leading alternative. Critics in Australia pointed out that much more could be done, including focusing on industrial energy-saving measures and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. But Turnbull defended the move: “It’s a little thing,” he said, “but it’s a massive change.”