The 27 nations of the EU have decided to ban the sale of normal incandescent light bulbs by 2009, and 490 million citizens will be forced to use low energy fluorescent light bulbs instead.
This decision has been taken in order to reduce emissions of that poisonous gas CO2 and thereby save us all from the imminent heat-death of the universe. Of course, as a few brave scientists have pointed out, CO2 is actually a completely natural by-product of all life, and the imminent heat-death is far from proven. Let's face it, it's only 30 years or so since they were prophesising the opposite, planetary cooling. The one remotely accurate piece of propaganda in current circulation is the strange expression "carbon footprint". Since we are all mainly composed of carbon, this seems fair enough, if a little fanciful.
What the EU law-givers have ignored, and what 490 million people are very likely to notice, is that …
The low energy fluorescent bulbs are larger and uglier than normal bulbs …
for a wide range of purposes they cannot be used, with dimmer switches for instance, or as security lights ...
they contain toxic mercury, which the EU itself is trying to ban ...
to run them efficiently means leaving them on longer so energy savings are minimised ...
a Defra report last year found that more than 50% of existing light fittings in the UK homes cannot take the new bulbs and will have to be replaced, and the massive cost of this will be made even greater by the recent legislation aimed at preventing householders from doing their own electrical work.
The three market leaders in the manufacture of the fluorescent lamps including Philips and Siemens have been lobbying Brussels hard on this issue. They have already managed to persuade the EU to impose a 66% duty on bulbs imported from China and the Far East, to ensure that these remain more expensive than normal bulbs. But even Philips has announced that to effect a changeover throughout the EU will need 10 years, not two.
Still … politicians taking daft decisions and making everyone else pay the price? "C'est bizarre, mais c'est normale", as the French would say.
The GOS says: Mrs.GOS is already panic-buying. We're running out of space in the Grumpy Loft but should be OK for light-bulbs for the next fifty years, and b*gg*r the planet.
Mrs.GOS has also found a way to reduce her carbon footprint. She's started wearing two pairs of slippers.
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