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Greenpeace launches its campaign against energy-wasting products


Berlin, International — As G8 and EU ministers gathered in Berlin to discuss energy efficiency measures, Greenpeace used a mechanised road roller to crush ten thousand energy-wasting light bulbs at the Brandenburg Gate today, demanding tough European efficiency standards for energy using products, and an immediate ban on incandescent light bulbs.

Ministers are gathering at a 2-day meeting “Energy Efficiency: Shaping Tomorrow’s World” to discuss efficiency measures, as part of a German government initiative during its dual presidency of the EU and the G8.

The demonstration marks the start of Greenpeace International’s energy efficiency campaign, which aims to stop the huge energy wastage caused by a wide variety of inefficient electrical products “ the first of these being the iconic light bulb. Greenpeace’s global blueprint for avoiding dangerous climate change ” the Energy [R]evolution “ identifies the combination of energy efficiency with renewable sources of energy (such as wind, solar and geothermal) as the ”winning combination" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level which will keep global warming under 2 degrees, whilst allowing for economic and population growth.

Light bulbs are an iconic example of the many energy wasting products that are sold to consumers. An incandescent light bulb wastes 95% of its energy generating heat instead of light. Although cheaper to buy than energy efficient bulbs, incandescent bulbs cost consumers almost 200 euros a year in wasted electricity (1), and on a pan-European level, contribute millions of tons greenhouse gases in the generation of this wasted power. Switching to CFLs (energy efficient bulbs) alone would result in shutting down 25 polluting power stations in Europe.

“It’s urgent to close the European market to ”energy-wasters“. We have heard rumours and vague promises from various governments about banning incandescent bulbs, so let’s do it now! We are calling on ministers to instigate immediate national bans on light bulbs and push for enforcement of a EU-wide mandatory efficiency standard on domestic lighting by 2010. This would not be hard for the EU and would send a strong political signal to the world: this 19th century climate-damaging product has no place in the 21st century.” said Laetitia de Marez, head of Greenpeace International’s Efficiency project.

The EU has started to consider efficiency standards for certain energy-using product categories under the framework of the Ecodesign directive, but this process is lengthy and any proposed legislation could amount to nothing more than “voluntary measures” if industry lobbyists have their way. Greenpeace demands that all standards are to be ambitious and mandatory, and that this EU process is speeded up.

“Energy efficiency is such an easy, logical and profitable way to solve half the climate problem that we can’t afford to not grab this opportunity. Smart energy use is something that benefits everybody: less CO2 emissions, lower energy bills and lower power consumption. It’s win-win-win, so why not use energy the smart way?” said Sharon Becker from Greenpeace International.


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