Australia’s environmental minister says the government will use both persuasion and regulation to phase out incandescent light bulbs completely within three years, The New York Times reports.
Efficiency standards will be steadily tightened to the point where it will ultimately be impossible to sell ordinary incandescent bulbs that meet them, forcing consumers to purchase compact fluorescent lights.
A spokeswoman for the minister said the first step would be to encourage manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers to make ample supplies of appropriate fluorescent bulbs available and to cut back on incandescents.
Wal-Mart is trying to influence the same groups with its goal of selling 100 million energy-efficient compact flourescents by 2008. Wal-Mart’s goal is thought to be changing the way light bulb manufacturers do business. If so, Australia’s announcement might indicate the upheaval the industry can expect in the years to come.
Australia would be the first country to eliminate incandescent bulbs. In the U.S., California assemblyman Lloyd Levine has introduced legislation to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs.