India is taking its first major step towards curbing global warming. Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, the Ministry of Power has decided to replace 40 crore incandescent light bulbs all over the country with environment-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) by 2012.
The Bachat Lamp Yojana aims to save up to 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide — equivalent to shutting down four big coal power plants. Emission of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane is one of the major contributors to climate change.
“We will divide the country into project areas, each with a population of 5 lakh. In each area, one of 24 chosen electricity generation companies will go from door-to-door and sell CFLs for Rs 15,” said Ajay Mathur, director general, Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
“The companies will buy the bulbs for Rs 100 each but sell them for Rs 15. They will make profits by sellling carbon credits,” said Mathur. “The distribution of CFLs has started in Vishakhapatnam and Haryana. In another six months, it will spread to other parts.”
The Bachat Lamp Yojana uses Clean Development Mechanism, a system which allows developed countries to invest in clean technology in developing countries. This will enable electricity generation companies in India to sell CFLs at a reduced rate and recover the money by selling carbon credits to European nations.
In India, lighting comprises 20 per cent of residential electricity consumption. Energy efficiency is the smartest way to reduce demand and CO2 emissions, said Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Green Peace’s political and business advisor to India.
“If the world follows India’s example, the cumulative effect would be equivalent to shutting down around 220 coal-fired power plants,” he said.