Lots of action from Europe this week:
First up, as Environmental Leader reports, the EU is set to ban inefficient light bulbs.
There was plenty of flak thrown around when a California legislator proposed a ban recently. But the momentum is clear, now. European light bulb makers are close to an agreement in principle to work together on phasing out energy-wasting incandescent bulbs for the consumer market. Australia announced it would phase out incandescents and Greenpeace asked India to follow Australia’s lead.
Meanwhile, EU Leaders have agreed on a goal of 20% Green Power by 2020
On the business side:
Carbon Trade, on the other hand, is skeptical of carbon offset programs. Their new report, "The Carbon Neutral Myth" asserts that "creative accountancy and elaborate shell games cover up the impossibility of verifying genuine climate change benefits," and argues that
offsets place disproportionate emphasis on individual lifestyles and carbon footprints, distracting attention from the wider, systemic changes.
Meanwhile, more big news from big players. Bank of America wins the big dog award this week, with its $20 billion (with a B) environmental initative. Some will finance greening of their own buildings and operations, but 90% will support
lending, advice and market creation to help commercial clients finance the use and production of new products, services and technologies.... [and] the capability to trade carbon emissions credits.
CNet reports on IBM's new green business unit, called Big Green Innovations, which
takes aim at everything from creating "carbon dashboards" that help corporations lower their supply chain's carbon emissions to designing energy-efficient data centers and more powerful solar cells.
All is not rosy in corporate greening land, however, as the FTSE4Good Index announced dropping 17 companies for no longer meeting its standards.
Finally this week, grumblings from another corner as University of California, Berkeley, faculty and students raise concerns about UCB half-billion dollar biofuels deal with BP, including potential impacts on academic freedom, and excessive emphasis on genetic engineering and corn-based vs cellulosic ethanol.
I just got back from Venezuela where houses blanket the hills of Caracas like cascading legos. The government has started an initiative to replace all old inefficient light bulbs with the new free of charge to Venezuelan citizens. I flew into the city at night and as I was driving to my hotel, I got to see the complimentary color scheme this created: old orange lights and new blue ones. The residential hills looked like an orange and blue Lite-Brite.
Enough of the toy analogies. Anyhow, it was interesting to see a country in the process of implementing this change.
Having just got back from shopping for another round of fluorescent bulbs, I have to say that the reality of the marketplace here in California, at least, is that a lot of these new bulbs are just plain crap. Worse, it's hard to tell good from bad, because so much information is just not on the box. Pretty frustrating, and I've been to hardware stores big and small. A little label standardization, voluntary or mandated, would help consumers make the switch--for example, a Kelvin rating (with a color bar) to indicate light color (currently "white" can mean anything from blue to whitish blue, while "warm white" is more like the old cool white), lumens (of course), dimmability (some products make false claims), whether truly silent or slightly buzzing, instant on or not, etc.
People have got to have a good experience switching, or they'll go back. I'm as green as they get, but several trips to the hardware store is not a good way to start a revolution.