At the Minamata Convention Conference of Parties (COP5) in October 2023, the 141 Parties to the Convention will have an opportunity to set phase out dates for linear fluorescent lamps.

At the fourth Minamata Convention Conference of Parties (COP4), the Clean Lighting Coalition successfully supported 137 parties in agreeing on a compact fluorescent lamp phase-out by 2025. Despite this progress, last minute interventions meant the parties did not agree to phase out linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) – the largest contributor to lighting-based mercury pollution in the world. 

The now 141 parties to the Minamata Convention have the opportunity to phase out LFLs at COP5 in November 2023. Phasing out LFLs by 2025 will ensure the greatest impacts from energy, mercury and carbon savings.  

However, there is a risk that 2025 will not be selected and these potential benefits would be reduced. The table below shows that delaying the phase out of LFLs by just two years would eliminate 36 tonnes of mercury savings and US$221 billion in electricity bill savings, and it would mean over 600 million tonnes of CO2 that could have been saved cost-effectively will be released to the atmosphere. Further delays result in even more significant health, economic and environmental savings lost.

Based on price and performance data from more than 1200 lighting technologies, CLiC found that phasing out LFLs by 2025 is technologically feasible and economically justified in over 35 countries. 

CLiC is updating the analysis to reflect recent increases in energy price and LED market trends – revealing that phasing out fluorescents quickly is beneficial to all. 

To better understand the impact of delaying the phase-out of fluorescent lamps, the Clean Lighting Coalition developed a global fluorescent lamp market model that projects shipments of fluorescent lamps to 2050. The model offers Parties vital insights into the benefits of an accelerated fluorescent phase out.

Mercury Savings 

The table below shows the results for mercury savings – both in the lamps themselves as well as the emissions from coal-fired power stations. The model shows that the later the COP phases out fluorescent lighting, the more mercury pollution is released into the environment from lighting. The model estimates that 198 metric tonnes of mercury can be avoided if the Parties choose 2025 as the phase-out date. However, if the phase-out year selected is 2026, an additional 18 metric tonnes of mercury will be emitted into homes, buildings and the environment both through the lamps and lost energy savings. If the phase-out year is delayed until 2027, 36 metric tonnes of mercury – 18% of the 2025 potential – will be lost.

Electricity Bill Savings 

The figure below illustrates the value of the total electricity savings from phasing out linear fluorescent lamps through Minamata in eight different years. The greatest savings on electricity bills – US $1.3 trillion from 2025-2050 – occurs if 2025 is selected as the phase-out year. If there is a one-year delay and 2026 is selected for the phase-out year, US $112 billion of savings will not be realized by businesses and consumers. If there are two years of delay to 2027, US $221 billion in savings will be lost – meaning households and businesses will have to spend an unnecessary US $221 billion globally on their electricity bills. 

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Savings 

This table shows the calculated CO2 savings that would accrue globally from phasing out fluorescent lamps in the years shown. The greatest savings occurs by phasing out in 2025 – there would be 3.3 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions avoided between 2025-2050. If 2026 is the selected phase-out year, 300 million tonnes of potential CO2 savings are lost. Delaying the linear fluorescent phase-out to 2027 will result in a total of 600 million tonnes of CO2 savings lost. 

Read more about the benefits and costs of delay in our submission to the Minamata Secretariat in preparation for COP5.

By phasing out linear fluorescent lamps in 2025, governments will mitigate mercury released to the environment, lower energy bills and significantly reduce CO2 emissions.  

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