China to map a switch to efficient lighting

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China will soon release a plan for switching to energy-saving lighting, hopefully by the end of this year, according to a Chinese lighting expert attending the Cancun climate talks Thursday.

The country plans to phase out incandescent bulbs through three steps, said Hua Shuming, director of China's National Lighting Test Center, in an interview with China Daily after a news briefing by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The switch will start with public facilities and venues and road signs, then move to manufacturers, and finally entirely ban sales and production, Hua said.

UNEP has already begun a worldwide initiative of switching to energy-efficient lighting in 100 countries, including China.

Hua said China currently produces 85 percent of the world's compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which are considered to be a better lighting product with higher energy efficiency. "We output 4 billion CFLs each year on average, and about 1 billion of them are for domestic consumption," he added.

China is also the only manufacturer in the world for inefficient incandescent bulbs. "But most of these bulbs are for export," Hua explained. "And the United States is the largest importer." As a result, once China begins implementing the plan, its lighting production industry will be most affected, along with that of the importers.

According to UNEP, 50 to 70 percent of total lighting market sales are of inefficient incandescent lamps. By adopting a switch to energy-efficient alternatives, the worldwide demand for lighting would be cut by over 2 percent, equivalent to 1 percent of global carbon emissions. Such a cut would result in savings of approximately $47 billion.


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