United Nations Push for Global Energy Efficient Lighting

Reader Contribution by Press Release
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This press release is posted with permission fromGlobal Environment Facility.

Washington DC, Oct. 16, 2012 – New guidance for lighting efficiency
programs will save government resources, speed the transition to
energy-efficient lighting, boost economies, and mitigate climate change.

In a letter sent on Oct. 16, 2012, the Global Environment Facility
(GEF) CEO is announcing the availability of the new Toolkit “Achieving the Transition
to Energy Efficient Lighting
,” created in association with the
United Nations Environment Program’s en.lighten initiative.
This book is an unparalleled resource for providing guidance for countries to
transform their markets to energy-efficient lighting. The Toolkit highlights
best practice examples that countries have successfully implemented to move
their economies to efficient lighting and mitigate climate change.

Lighting is responsible for 19
percent of global electricity consumption and if not addressed immediately,
global consumption for lighting will see a 60 percent increase by the year
2030. Without significant improvements in efficiency, this growth will have dramatic
climate consequences. The phase-out of inefficient lamps is one of the most
straightforward and cost effective ways to significantly reduce carbon
emissions.

However, despite technological
improvements, most developing countries have not taken steps towards this
transition. Countries that have not made the shift may be unsure about how to
begin efficiency programs, or lack the necessary resources and know-how.

In her letter announcing the
Toolkit, Dr. Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson said “The GEF, together with
UNEP and its international partners, encourages countries to use this Toolkit
to protect the environment, save energy, grow their economies, and become more
competitive in the global arena.”

The en.lighten initiative is
currently working with 46 countries worldwide to develop National Efficient
Lighting Strategies based on the best practices reflected in the Toolkit.
Partners in the initiative led by UNEP include Philips, Osram, and the National Lighting Test Centre in Beijing,
China.

The content
of the Toolkit is presented in practical, action-oriented terms to be utilized
by those responsible for drafting policies – environment or energy departments
or agencies – but also by public utilities, private sector and civil society
organizations.

According to a UNEP assessment released last June,
a total of five percent of global electricity consumption could be saved every
year through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide
savings of over $110 billion.

The yearly savings in electricity of the phase-out
would be equivalent to closing over 250 large coal-fired power plants,
resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately $210 billion.
Additionally, the 490 megatons of CO2 savings per year is equivalent to
the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars.

“One of the most cost-effective ways to
contribute to the reduction of global carbon emissions is the phase-out of
inefficient lighting technologies,” said Achim Steiner, UN
Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.

Due to the technological shift towards innovative
LED technology, there is a great opportunity for countries to leapfrog to this
advanced lighting solution in national markets.

Although LED lamps are currently expensive to buy for
individual consumers, bulk procurement by governments, tax incentives and
subsidies are making them a viable alternative.  LEDs do not contain any
mercury and last up to ten times longer than their CFL counterparts.

Countries that have
joined the en.lighten Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme include:
Algeria, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chile, Costa Rica,
Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana,
Guatemala, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Panama,
Paraguay, Philippines, Russian Federation,  Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan,
Thailand, Togolese Republic, Tonga, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay,
Yemen. 

Key Facts About Efficient Lighting:

  • Electricity
    for lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of electricity consumption and
    6 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide.
  • The global
    demand for artificial light will be 60 percent higher by 2030 if no switch
    to efficient lighting occurs.
  • Incandescent
    lamps have already been phased-out, or are scheduled to be phased-out in
    most OECD countries, Argentina,
    Brazil, China, Colombia,
    Mexico, Vietnam
    and other developing countries.
  • Some
    countries, such as Nigeria
    and China,
    are leapfrogging directly to light emitting diodes (LEDs) from
    incandescent lamps. LEDs do not contain mercury and have other advantages
    such as long life and low heat generation.

Visit GEF’s country lighting assessments for an
interactive map that will help explain the energy savings and financial
benefits for each participating country.