Ireland to ban energy-wasting lightbulbs in early 2009

Greenpeace comment

Media release - December 6, 2007
Today, the Irish Government, as part of its national Carbon Budget, announced what will be in effect the European Union’s first ban on energy-wasting incandescent lightbulbs. Greenpeace congratulates the Irish government on its decision to lead the world in this simple but essential step in tackling climate change.

Greenpeace flies a 10m x 4m banner from the Spire of Dublin, calling on the Irish Government to "Ban the Bulb".

"Today Ireland has taken a lead in banning energy-wasting lightbulbs by as early as January 2009. Greenpeace hopes that Ireland's decision will light the way for the EU and the rest of the world", said Greenpeace Campaigner Eoin Dubsky, in Dublin. [1]

Over the past year, a number of EU countries have talked about similar bans, but Ireland is the first to act. The UK has preferred to leave the question to retailers, seeking voluntary agreements to take wasteful incandescent bulbs off the shelves by 2011. Last month, French President Sarkozy declared his support for a 2010 national ban but concrete proposals have not been published yet. The Dutch Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer, a former Philips employee, announced initial support for a phase-out of incandescent lightbulbs in 2011 but then reversed her opinion. [2] Cramer now supports the manufacturers' call for a prolonged phase out lasting until 2019.

The European Commission is working on efficiency standards for energy-using products, such as incandescent lightbulbs. However, there is no guarantee that these measures will be mandatory or even ambitious. Lightbulb manufacturers such as Philips, GE and Osram are trying to keep incandescent bulbs in the shops until 2019. [3] Every year of delay in 'banning the bulb' will see Europe unnecessarily pumping 20 million tonnes of climate-changing carbon dioxide into the air. [4]

Contact

Eoin Dubsky, Greenpeace International campaigner (currently in Dublin). Tel: +31 6 4163 6410

Notes to Editors

[1] Greenpeace is campaigning for governments to ban energy wasting incandescent lightbulbs. Earlier this week Greenpeace activists delivered over 10.000 signatures to the Irish Minister of Environment and hung a banner on Dublin's Monument of Light saying 'Ban the bulb'. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/ireland-lightbulb-law

[2] http://www.energieraad.nl/newsitem.asp?pageid=1492

[3] Lightbulb manufacturer's position paper - http://www.sustenergy.org/UserFiles/File/elcf_background_paper.pdf

[4] CEO Philips Lighting, speech at 07/12/06 - http://www.newscenter.philips.com/about/news/speechespresentations/article-15584.page