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Canada to ban incandescent light bulbs by 2012

Canada will ban the sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012 as part of a plan to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Canada will ban the sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012 as part of a plan to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases tied to global warming, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said Wednesday.

Canada is the second country in the world to announce such a ban. Australia said in February it would get rid of all incandescent bulbs by 2009.

"Making the switch to more efficient lighting is one of the easiest and most effective things we can do to reduce energy use and harmful emissions," Lunn told a news conference.

If households installed compact fluorescent bulbs — which use about 75 percent less electricity than old-style bulbs — they could save $50 a year, he said.

"By banning inefficient lighting, we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6 million tons per year," Lunn said.

The ban will not apply to uses where incandescent bulbs are still the only practical alternative.

The Canadian province of Ontario last week announced it would ban inefficient incandescent bulbs by 2012.

In the United States, California and New Jersey are considering similar measures, while Chile and the European Union also are seeking to phase out the use of incandescent bulbs.

Plan to cut emissions
The announcement comes as Canada aims to bring greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below current levels by 2020 under a plan to be unveiled this week.

Environment Minister John Baird is due to unveil the full program on Thursday, but revealed some details ahead of time after a copy of his prepared remarks was inadvertently sent to an opposition legislator.

He said Ottawa’s plan to curb emissions from heavy industrial polluters such as power companies and energy firms would stop the rise in greenhouse gases in three to five years, and he promised to halve air pollution by 2015.

“We find ourselves today with one of the worst environmental records among industrialized countries. Now, we need to turn things around,” he said.

“Once greenhouse gases have stopped rising, we will begin to reduce them, so that by 2020, Canada will have cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 150 million tons. This is 20 percent of our total emissions today.”

Activist not convinced
Critics said Canada should stick to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, which calls for a six percent cut in Canadian emissions from 1990 levels by 2012.

John Bennett of Climate Action Network Canada said Baird’s plan meant emissions in 2020 would be 11 percent above where they should have been in 2012 under Kyoto.

“This is not enough. This is turning our back on Kyoto. This is I think a cynical attempt to convince Canadians that this government is doing something serious about air pollution and climate change and it’s doing neither,” he told Reuters.

Canada’s emissions are 27 percent above 1990 levels.

Bennett and others complain the government is being too friendly toward the energy industry, which is mainly located in western Canada, power base of the Conservative government.

“They don’t have a plan. They’re lurching from announcement to announcement,” said Paul Dewar, a legislator for the opposition left-leaning New Democrats.

Leaked documents indicate Baird will opt for intensity-based targets that would reduce the rate at which companies and utilities pollute the atmosphere, rather than imposing firm targets for cuts.