Incandescent Phase-out

gadsden bulb

Some governments around the world have passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting. The aim is to encourage the use and technological development of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives, such as compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs) and LED lamps. Brazil and Venezuela started to phase them out in 2005, and the European Union, Switzerland, and Australia started to phase them out in 2009. Likewise, other nations are planning scheduled phase-outs: Argentina, Russia, and Canada in 2012, and the United States and Malaysia in 2014.

There has been consumer resistance to phasing out of incandescent lamps, preferring the quality of light produced from incandescents, the libertarian political theory of free markets as trumping ‘national interest’ as a reason for regulation, and environmental concerns about mercury contamination with CFLs. Formerly, instant availability of light was an issue for CFLs, but newer CFLs have an Instant On feature, as well as a wide variety of correlated color temperatures. CFLs and LEDs labeled for dimmer control are also becoming available, although typically at higher cost. The phase out has been referred to as ‘light bulb socialism.’ The consumer preference for light bulbs in the EU is for incandescent bulbs, with many complaining about what was described as the ugliness or the cold, flat, unnatural, dull light emanating from CFLs. Bulk purchasing of incandescent bulbs was reported ahead of the EU lightbulb ban.

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