Now the traditional (and cheap) incandescent light bulb has been forcibly phased out in the name of saving the planet, we seem to be stuck with millions of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL), or mercury bombs as they have been called. These things contain mercury, a Red List substance, so when they break or fail they have to be disposed of in the approved manner.
Not only that, but CFL lighting was always due to be phased out anyway because of the mercury. It’s probably only a matter of time because the Zero Mercury Working Group has this to say about the use of mercury.
The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of 94 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from 52 countries from around the world formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project. ZMWG strives for zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources, with the goal of reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum. Our mission is to advocate and support the adoption and implementation of a legally binding instrument which contains mandatory obligations to eliminate where feasible, and otherwise minimize, the global supply and trade of mercury, the global demand for mercury, anthropogenic releases of mercury to the environment, and human and wildlife exposure to mercury.
A complete global ban is their aim – hence the name. Zero Mercury Working Group. All this is going on under the umbrella of UNEP, the same UN body that pushes climate propaganda and thereby the move to CFL lighting. A binding international agreement on mercury may well be signed within weeks and ZMWG is after a strong agreement :-
The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to prepare a global legally binding instrument on Mercury (INC4) will be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 27 June to 2 July 2012.
There is in principle nothing wrong with phasing out the release of mercury into the environment. There are problems in identifying anthropogenic mercury, because it occurs naturally, but in principle we should not be adding it to the environment if at all possible.
The problem is, we knew all this when CFL lighting was forced on us, so why not wait for something better than CFL, or at least make it optional with a large health warning on each pack? Why fill millions of homes with millions of mercury-containing CFLs, knowing they will have to be phased out and knowing the official view is, the sooner the better?
The only domestic option to CFL, unless we go back to traditional (and did I say cheap) incandescent light bulbs, seems to be LED lighting, which is expensive, still being developed and depends on rare earths from China. This was also foreseeable of course because both the pushing of CFL and the phasing out of the mercury essential for CFL were going on at the same time under the same umbrella organisation – UNEP.
Not that anyone is likely to be surprised.