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[GreenYes] Re: More on the future of lighting

Some great ideas...

I would further suggest that the word "tax" be avoided (hated by the public, industry and many legislators) ; that instead, the term "environmental fee" be used, and promoted similar to other impact or user fees.

I also think it would be useful to have the bulk of the environmental fee be put on the generation of power, with the fee composed of the environmental costs of the various emissions (CO2, NOx, SO2, mercury, etc). By doing this, it would encourage the consumer to buy the most efficient product, while at the same time encourage the power generator to reduce their environmental discharges. Already, such a system is in effect in at least one European country (Norway) for a similar situation.

I further suggest that we get away from the concept of the "xx industry" paying for proper disposal (rarely do they really pay any costs). Instead, I think that we ought to incorporate the price of proper management of the end product is in the price of the product when it is purchased, with the industry responsible (in total or in part) for setting up the system for this management. In addition, a refundable deposit would help increase the number of the old products that are turned in for proper handling.

John Reindl, Recycling Manager
Dane County, WI

-----Original Message-----
From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address]On Behalf Of Doug Koplow
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 11:58 AM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: [GreenYes] More on the future of lighting

A few weeks back, this list had a discussion on compact fluorescent lighting and ways to deal with disposal. Related to the general issue of the future of lighting, there is a good article from yesterday's NYT:

Items I found of interest in the article included the focus on lighting options well beyond CFLs (supporting the idea that we shouldn't differentially subsidize managing the Hg problems with this technology) and the idea that even incandescents can (supposedly) be made much more efficient then they are now.

A number of people on the original thread advocated levying a tax on incandescent bulbs to underwrite the proper disposal of CFLs. I've been swayed that perhaps some form of tax on incandescent bulbs might be appropriate. However, rather than a flat product tax, I'd structure them more along the lines of a "feebate" approach that the Rocky Mountain Institute advocated a few decades ago.

A feebate would set a tax on all bulbs based on the kWh per lumen of light output. Thus, fees would be higher on less efficient lighting. The funds would be pooled not to finance CFL disposal (the CFL industry itself should pay for this), but to provide unit-sale rebates on the purchase of the more efficient (but also more expensive) lighting option.

This approach would retain not underwrite the problems of any one lighting technology, rather maintaining competition amongst all of them based on efficiency. Importantly, however, feebates would accelerate the development and market uptake of more efficient lighting technologies.

-Doug Koplow

Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02140
Tel: 617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

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