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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: China Bulb Ban, Toxics Reporting, Superfund Renewables

China is the latest country to ban the import and sale of incandescent light bulbs, Reuters reported. The country’s National Development and Reform Commission will impose a ban on certain inefficient bulbs starting next October and will enact policies to encourage the use of LED lights.

The EPA announced that it will reinstate mandatory Toxic Release Inventory reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide was added to the inventory’s list of toxic chemicals by rule in 1993, but the rule was suspended a year later.

The EPA and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have announced a plan to study the use of renewables on Superfund, brownfields and form landfill or mining sites. The EPA said it will invest $1 million in such projects at 26 sites in 20 states as part of the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative.

The price of European Union carbon permits continues to tank as the euro zone crisis spreads and there remains a consistent oversupply of permits on the market, Reuters reported. Permit prices have lost a third of their value since the beginning of 2011, hitting a 33-month low of 9.37 euros last week.

Despite the widespread troubles in the European carbon market and beyond, the European Commission said the bloc will still offer to increase its 2020 emissions reduction target to 30 percent if other countries commit to similar drawbacks, Reuters reported. Climate talks begin this month in Durban, South Africa to discuss a new deal that will replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

Increased wind production in the Pacific Northwest has led to a new problem far from the energy shortages and blackouts of years past: too much energy for the grid to handle. In response, The New York Times reports that utilities, like the Bonneville Power Administration, are asking consumers to store excess energy in special home appliances that can redistribute the energy to the grid when demand spikes.

Global nuclear generation is predicted to fall 15 percent by 2035, mainly as a result of the Fukushima radiation crisis in Japan, according to a draft copy of the International Energy Agency’s 2011 World Energy Outlook obtained by Reuters. Overall, power demand is expected to rise 3.1 percent per year.

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4 thoughts on “Policy & Enforcement Briefing: China Bulb Ban, Toxics Reporting, Superfund Renewables

  1. RE China incandescent light bulb ban
    Much more profits for China-made CFLs and LEDs that way…

    About the industrial politics behind banning simple incandescent light
    bulbs, with copies of documentat­ion and references http://ceolas.net/#li1ax

    Besides,
    apart from product choice and safety issues,
    the actual savings are not that great anyway =
    less than 1% of overall energy use, and 1-2% grid electricity is saved
    from banning the bulbs, as shown by USA Dept of Energy and other official
    information
    http://ceolas.net/#li171x
    with alternative and more meaningful ways to save energy in generation, distribution or consumption

  2. Peter,

    A savings is a savings is a savings. Don’t diss the energy savings that is so easily achievable. And especially when the economics is favorable to the consumer – saving energy equals saving money, since the CFLs pay for themselves within a very short interval when one considers the energy that does not have to be bought to light them.

    And just because other routes to energy conservation also exist, that is no valid argument at all against simultaneously pursuing the CFL route. Again, it is so easy to pursue, and offers such an attractive cost/benefit ratio to consumers.

    By the way, China also manufactures incandescents, and sells many of them to the US. China is getting profits no matter what type of bulb consumers may choose to use.

    Incidentally, the celoas.net site is chock full of misinformation and misdirection. I’ve previously warned others to avoid relying on that site for unbiased information.

    The bottom line is that CFLs save about 75% of the energy that is used to power light fixtures that previously used incandescents. That is an undisputable fact. And not having to generate that electricity saves large amounts of mercury and other pollutants from being released into the air we breathe, by the electrical generating plants that burn fossil fuels.

  3. Thanks Doug!

    RE Savings,
    Even if the energy savings applied,
    which they hardly do overall for the reasons given,
    there are many other reasons
    – light quality, appearance, size, price etc why a person would choose one light bulb over another

    Besides, even if the bulbs had to be targeted, they could be taxed, which could help subsidise cheaper energy saving alternatives while keeping choice (wrong policy in my view, but still better than bans also for ban-proposing Governments)

    RE mercury,
    the “incandescents using coal power plants is worse” type argument does not hold up as linked below, also given the recent EPA policy under Lisa Jackson with 90% mercury emission reducing mandates
    http://ceolas.net/#li198x

    RE Ceolas.net,
    whatever about the opinions,
    the savings and mercury sections linked above are themselves extensively linked to official Govmt and institutional sites.

  4. You’re welcome Peter. And just to follow up:

    “Even if the energy savings applied,
    which they hardly do overall for the reasons given”: A savings is still a savings – period. And since the economics are favorable to the consumer, there is little reason not to pursue this route. Replacing just one 60W incandescent with a 13W CFL leads to 352 KWH of evergy savings over the bulb lifetime – which corresponds to about $35 of savings off the electricity bill. And by the way, it also leads to about 451 lbs of CO2 that is saved from being discharged into the atmosphere.

    Light quality is nearly indistinguishable from incandescents. And CFLs now come in a wide variety of ‘color temperatures’; so one can further customize the light quality at will.

    “Appearance”? I don’t know of too many people who care about the appearance of the light bulb. After all, when it’s ‘on’, one hardly ever looks directly at it. Ditto when it’s ‘off’.

    “Price”? I’ve already shown that CFLs are far cheaper overall when the electricity savings is properly taken into account.

    In the US, there is no ban against incandescents. There is merely a new efficiency standard that incandescents will have a hard time meeting. But if a company can figure out how to meet it, they could still sell as many efficient incandescents as they would like.

    The arguments that incandescent put more mercury into the environment is well substantiated. The EPA offers this comment: “The total amount of mercury that could be released into the environment through breakage and improper disposal, however, is small compared to the amount of mercury that doesn’t get released into the environment because Americans are choosing energy-efficient CFLs, reducing demand for electricity”; found at http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cfl-hg.html.

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