Light the way

The text of Assembly Bill 722 can be viewed at:

Another bill, Assembly Bill 1109, mandates setting lighting standards to cut energy use by 50 percent to 75 percent by 2018. AB 1109 can be viewed at

When Assemblyman Lloyd Levine introduced legislation to ban the use of the incandescent light bulb, his notion was to enact a relatively painless method to reduce wasteful energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions. But the idea was largely met with responses varying from scorn to mockery.

No more. Assembly Bill 722 will have its first legislative hearing on April 23. So far only the Howard Jarvis tax group has registered opposition. Meantime, General Electric announced it will accelerate the introduction of vastly more efficient incandescent bulbs, similar legislation was introduced in Connecticut, and Australia announced it will phase out the incandescent bulb by 2010. Amazing what a few lines of black print on a single sheet of proposed California legislation can help stimulate.

AB 722 phases out the use of “general service incandescent light bulbs” by 2012. These are the standard light bulbs used around the house with wattage between 25 and 150. Incandescent bulbs with more specialized uses are exempted. The highly energy inefficient incandescent bulbs can be replaced by compact fluorescent lights—those being promoted by everyone from Wal-Mart to SMUD.

Suggestions that AB 722 is better aimed at setting minimal energy-efficiency standards for lighting, rather than specifying particular types of light bulb, deserve consideration.

AB 722 is illuminating one way forward in a crucial arena for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and should pass out of committee to keep lighting the way.