China is on an eco-path. Not the one that other countries wanted in Copenhagen but on one it can engineer at its will. The government has announced a measure to progressively phase out incandescent light bulbs from 2012 onwards. The shift would be impressive: in five years, the plan is to ramp up annual production from 3 billion to 12 billion low-consumption light bulbs (a third of the production is currently intended for domestic consumption). To make sure that the targets are reached, a plan incentivizes eco-friendly light bulb producers.
Let’s hope that the thinking of the government included the re-cycling part of the supply chain since low-consumption light bulb contain mercury. Let’s also hope that the government will monitor the quality of the light bulbs. According to the China Daily, 70% of energy saving bulbs randomly tested in Chinese localities (including Beijing and Shanghai) did not reach the energy-saving standard required while 20% did not save any electricity at all compared with incandescent light bulbs.
P.S.: If one needed an additional proof that China does not want to meddle in other countries’ environmental affairs, Chinese exporters of traditional light bulbs are not concerned by the measure.