Australia to switch off traditional light bulbs

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Australia to switch off traditional light bulbs

Seeing things in a greener light.

The Australian government has announced that it will be introducing legislation to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs in favour of energy-saving fluorescent bulbs by 2010.

The new legislation, which will gradually restrict the sale of filament-based light bulbs, could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by four million tons a year by 2012, and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent.

Official figures show that Australia produced almost 565 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2004.

"It's a little thing, but it's a massive change," said environment minister Malcolm Turnbull in an interview with Nine Network television.

"If the rest of the world follows our lead, this will reduce an amount of energy to the tune of five times as much energy as Australia consumes."

With a few exceptions, such as medical lighting, Turnbull plans for bulbs that do not meet energy efficiency regulations to be gradually banned from sale.

Australian prime minister John Howard said that the move represented a practical step toward slowing climate change.

Howard has been sceptical about the issues of climate change, but seems to be changing his tune as he faces an upcoming election where global warming is a major concern for voters.

Although compact fluorescent light bulbs are currently more expensive than their old-fashioned counterparts, Howard believes the price will drop over time.

As fluorescent bulbs last four to 10 times as long and save on household power bills, he argues that they are better value for money even at current prices.

Australia is claiming this as a world first for a national government, although lawmaker Lloyd Levine proposed similar legislation in California last month.
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