The Christian Science Monitor reports that a coalition led by the world’s largest lighting manufacturer plans to phase out the incandescent light bulb by 2016 through the imposition of performance standards that would make the 125-year-old technology impractical. Royal Philips Electronics, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and other environmental and energy-savings groups are promoting the effort as a bid to slow global warming by eliminating the need for extraneous energy.

Incandescent bulbs use only 10 percent of consumed energy for lighting; the rest generates heat. The coalition says a shift toward energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes would eliminate the need to build 80 of the 150 coal-fired power plants now planned for the United States.  

“This old-style, inefficient light was a great invention that has now outlived its useful purpose,” said Brian Dundon, CEO of Philips’ North American lighting division.

Earlier, a European trade group whose members include General Electric, Siemens AG and Philips announced a plan to phase out incandescent bulbs in the European Union, which is a trend that may be followed in the United States. No timetable was set for the EU.

“We think [a ban] is absolutely unnecessary,” said Kim Freeman, GE. “GE supports national policy that will drive improved energy standards for all lighting products, regardless of the technologies.”

GE is planning to unveil an incandescent bulb with the same energy efficiency, if not better, than today’s compact fluorescent technology within the next five years.     EC