Out of all the members of the EU, which do you think uses most energy on lighting? Could it be Germany, the big economic powerhouse? Or the Nordic countries, with their extended winter darkness? Or even this country, the "dirty old man of Europe"? No, it's Ireland, which is why we want to see the Irish government introduce a law setting tough energy efficiency standards on household lighting.
We're asking for your help - sign the petition below and tell John Gormley, the environment minister, to ban the bulb (and you don't have to live in Ireland to sign).
The Irish government has already recognised the need to phase out wasteful incandescent bulbs and has proposed an eco-tax to favour compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) over old-fashioned bulbs. That's all good, but the government could do so much better: by insisting on mandatory, ever-improving efficiency standards for household lighting, incandescents could be a thing of the past.
For instance, a minimum efficiency requirement for bulbs was 25 lumens per watt would be brilliant. 'Lumens per watt' is the standard method of measuring the amount of light given out by a bulb for each unit of electricity it uses - when you're talking about efficiency, the more lumens the better. Most incandescent bulbs hover around the 15 lumens per watt mark so a 25 lumens minimum would effectively ban these bulbs.
The UK government's voluntary phase-out will see bulbs with less than 30 lumens per watt gradually disappearing from major retailers, but the key word there is 'voluntary' - it's not a ban. So Ireland could indeed set a standard within the EU that others will follow. It looks like the UK could be following in her neighbour's footsteps on plastic bags; maybe it'll be the same with light bulbs.