16 September 2011

About those light bulbs (Canberra times 20070224)

Rosslyn Beeby ("We need brighter ideas", February 21, p2) is right to call Malcolm Turnbull’s ban on incandescent light bulbs a "micro-step".

Mr Turnbull estimates that by 2015, the ban will save 4 million tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere annually.

What he doesn’t say is that by the same year, about another 54 million tonnes per year will be emitted as the result of population growth. According to the Bureau of Statistics, immigration was up again last year (by 9 per cent) to 135,000.

Even if it stays the same from now until 2015, that will mean one million extra people, which at the current per capita emission of 27 tonnes means 27million extra tonnes emitted.

There will also be at least another one million people due to natural increase, maybe more if anyone takes any notice of Treasurer Costello’s crazy exhortations to have an extra child "for the country".

A micro-step indeed four million tonnes saved, what about the other 50 million? If the idea is to actually reduce emissions, it is mission impossible while our population continues to grow.

Tom Gosling, Phillip 

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