Energy-saving light bulbs do save energy, but many residents refuse to use them simply because they are several times more expensive than the traditional versions. They do not see the long-term benefits of saving energy, focusing instead on the bulbs' higher up-front costs.
Still, people really cannot be blamed for this situation. They need to be persuaded to see the long-term benefits of adopting such technology.
A new scheme set up by the National Development and Reform Commission to subsidize the makers of energy-saving light bulbs will cut the prices of such bulbs in half, bringing them to a level that consumers will be able to accept.
It is estimated that the price cuts will unleash the sale of 150 million energy-efficient light bulbs to residents and working units in the remaining three years of the 11th-Five-Year Plan period (2006-10). As a result, carbon dioxide emissions are projected to fall by 29 million tons.
The program is a great idea indeed. It will not only help the country hit its goal of cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and reducing polluting emissions by 10 percent by the end of 2010, but it will also support the central government's plan to return money to taxpayers in the form of benefits.
Meanwhile, Beijing's municipal government will subsidize an additional 30 percent worth of price cuts, and district governments will contribute another 10 percent, making energy-saving light bulbs just a tenth of their original cost.
Beijing will implement the scheme on trial basis in its downtown West District, with the goal of getting all families use the bulbs. The authorities hope the cheap prices will bring this target within easy reach.
Beijing has undoubtedly set a good example for the rest of the country. It is hoped that other provinces and cities will follow suit.
In a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, getting every single person to voluntarily take part in the campaign to save energy will have a huge impact on the amount of resources consumed and therefore the amount of pollution produced.
Looked at from this perspective, the plan to put energy-saving light bulbs in every home should represent a massive effort on the part of the public to protect the environment.
(China Daily 01/28/2008 page4)