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Many politicians make light work

Why is it that the Howard Government's best policies only come forth during an election year? Malcolm Turnbull's plan, announced yesterday, to legislate most incandescent light bulbs out of domestic use by 2009-10 is a good one, even though it does little more than scratch the surface of the fight again carbon emission.

Turnbull's ministerial press release can be seen here in PDF format. The key number in Turnbull's statement is the estimate of an annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 4 million tonnes by 2015. Wikipedia quotes UN figures giving Australia's CO2 emissions in 2002 at 356.3 million tonnes.

There's no costing of the proposal. Let's see if it appears in the 2007-08 budget this May...

While Peter Garrett has yet to make an official statement in response to the announcement, the Greens and the Democrats have both welcomed the idea but said the Government should go much further. Here's the press releases from Senator Christine Milne (AG, Tas) and Senator Lyn Allison (AD, Vic).

ABC's Science Online raises the issue, however, of a possible side effect of mandating compact fluorescent lights - greater toxic waste from mercury.

Grist has some reportage and discussion of the Australian announcement.