Legislator Wants Green Lights in California

ByABC News
January 31, 2007, 5:22 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31, 2007 — -- California residents will soon shed a new light on global warming with energy-efficient lightbulbs. These compact fluorescent lightbulbs, known for their swirly ice cream cone shape, may freeze some pocketbooks for their hefty price.

The change will come about if a California lawmaker is successful in his quest to ban the use of incandescent light bulbs in order to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gases which are linked to global warming.

The "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb Act" would ban the use of incandescent light bulbs by 2012. Instead, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) would become the norm for California residents.

"California is the first state saying that we're going to phase them out," said Lloyd Levine, the California assemblyman who first proposed the initiative.

Levine said the difference between the two bulbs is one of energy efficiency. When using a CFL, Levine said, "we need much less energy to power it."

CFLs generate 70 percent less heat than incandescent lights and save an average of $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb's lifetime, according to the Web site for Energy Star, which is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help people save money and protect the environment through products and practices.

Critics say CFLs are too expensive and don't provide adequate lighting. However, according to the Energy Star Web site, CFLs use less energy than the standard light bulb, provide the same amount of light and last up to 10 times longer.

Wal-Mart has set a goal to sell 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs by the end of 2007.

"We are on track to reaching our goal to provide affordable technology, and, at the same time, be environmentally conscious," said Trudi Hughes, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

For the most part, Hughes said, the public's reaction to the sale of CFLs has been positive. "We are extremely encouraged by our customer's reaction to [to the goal of selling] 100 million by the end of 2007," she said.