Walking the talk

New Zealand government today has issued a law, forcing the retailers to only import bulbs that meet new efficiency standards or face fines of up to $10,000  as of October 2009.

Here’s the link to the article.

The ultimate goal is to reduce the energy consumption of New Zealand by 20% (!) by 2015.

Here’s another article on the same topic.

This is definitely NOT “greenwashing”, it’s pretty radical.

Alex Roitman.


A part-time MBA student from Telfer School of Business (Ottawa University), living and working in Ottawa, Canada

Tagged with: ,
Posted in energy, government policy
5 comments on “Walking the talk
  1. jsitu79 says:

    Ontario, Canada in 2007 also announced a ban of inefficient lightbulbs by 2012. See http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=english.news&body=yes&news_id=148

    The 2006 Household Environment Survey shows that about 60% of households use CFL bulbs. So it would appear that despite CFL bulbs being financially advantagous, 40% of the Canadian population continue not to use it despite awareness campaigns. This is one example of a green initiative actually costing less. The legislative ban on inefficient bulbs makes perfect sense and will help the final holdout people make the switch.

  2. jasonchoueiri says:

    A bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives on 15 March 2007 to prohibit the sales of certain inefficient light bulbs in the United States. The bill calls for a prohibition of light bulbs that emit less than 60 lumens per watt by 2012, a prohibition of light bulbs that emit less than 90 lumens per watt by 2016 and a prohibition of light bulbs that emit less than 120 lumens per watt by 2020. Essentially, all incandescent light bulbs will need to produce more throughput, a notion that seems to be aiming to increase ecosystem efficiency. See http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1547

    Another interesting part of this bill is that Philips Lighting, the worlds largest producing of light bulbs, is encouraging this legislative ban on inefficient light bulbs. Many believe that Philips is doing so for mere profits (i.e. Philips will make more profits by selling more expensive energy efficient light bulbs). Others believe that Philips is on board to see that all inefficient light bulbs are banned by all producers; a move to ensure that if Philips stopped producing the bulbs, it would not lose business to other companies still producing them. It looks as though Philips is using state intervention to secure itself a competitive advantage on more efficient light bulbs. See the following article for more information. http://www.cnsnews.com/viewnation.asp?page=/nation/archive/200703/nat20070321a.html


  3. fsingcaster says:

    I think the “making perfect sense” is actually a very subjective appreciation. If you put energy conservation far above every other considerations, then yes the conclusion is logical. However, if you think that having more mercury in houses et al (esp. in things that are easily breakable) is also a very serious consideration (mercury is recognized as a hazardous substance, after all), then you may not reach the same conclusion. I find it interesting that environmental activists often make so much effort to ban chemicals from society based on the flimsiest of evidence (e.g., the recent Canadian ban of Bisphenol A, which is not supprted by any serious scientific studies anywhere) and yet suddenly have no qualms about mercury. I see this as a good example of the result of alarmist claims regarding potential catastrophic effects of man-made global warming (which are extreme scenarios that have very little support throughout the scientific community, including the IPCC) causing governments and societies to make unhealthy decisions that they would never make under normal circumstances. And if mercury in houses is acceptable, then why do so many of the same environmental activists still oppose nuclear power then, if evaluated under the same purview? (You can make an econimic case against nuclear power, but that is another story.)

  4. jsitu79 says:

    To alleviate any concerns on mercury poison, the amount of mercury in a CFL bulb is 2 to 5 mg, a watch batter has 25mg, a tooth filling has 100mg. If there still remains environmental concerns about CFL bulbs, just bring them to a proper waste disposal facility once they are done. (see http://www.projectporchlight.com/bulb/disposal)

    But I think this mercury issue is a nice illustration of how the public needs to be wary of naysayers who when they do not like the message, they try to attack and distort the facts. The movie An Inconvenient Truth talks about how there is not a single scientific article that disputes the facts of global warming, but an examination of mass media articles show that about 50% said global warming was fiction. We do need to watch out for alarmist, but complacency can be equally dangerous.

  5. jeanfrancois1 says:

    This only goes to show that we can’t necessarily leave it up to corporations to do the right thing on their own. Governments need to take a very active role in implement SD policies throughout the world. Canada right now is doing a heck of a lot of talking but very little walking and it is shameful !

    I came across this report on comparing Sweden and Canada in terms of their successes and approaches to sustainable development (http://www.environmentalindicators.com/htdocs/PDF/Report.pdf). It appears that Canada is really doing poorly and there is no excuse. Sweden is very similar to Canada yet they are leaps and bounds ahead in their SD.

    This quote sums up the difference: “Canada has relied on a regulatory approach similar to that used in the United States and increasingly, on ineffective voluntary programs. Sweden, in contrast, has combined regulations with a range of innovative policies designed to reshape its economy so as to place less pressure on the environment.”

    Sweden even has a program in place very much in line with what we have learned on Natural Capitalism – they account for the cost to the environment. In Sweden, the natural capital is no longer assumed away and therefore, firms cannot ignore it. Such an easy model – why haven’t we implemented it !


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