Accelerating the transition to clean, energy-efficient LED lighting will accelerate governments’ climate, energy and health agendas.
In October 2023, 139 governments will meet to discuss the equitable global transition to mercury-free lighting.
Last year at the fourth Conference of Parties (COP4), 137 governments agreed to phase out compact fluorescent lighting by 2025. At the COP5, governments will have an opportunity to negotiate phase-out dates for linear fluorescent lighting products to further reduce mercury and greenhouse gas emissions.
Why should governments support the proposed amendment?
Support a Global Green Economy
Around the world, governments are pursuing policies to support the transition to green economies to mitigate climate change and meet rising demand for energy. A critical component of a low carbon and socially inclusive economy is the transition to energy-efficient LED lighting technologies. An accelerated transition to LED light bulbs will avoid 3.5 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by 2050.
By supporting a proposal to phase-out linear fluorescent lamps, the parties to the Minamata Convention will accelerate an agenda to mitigate climate change, reduce global mercury levels and transition to clean lighting. The transition to clean lighting supports the Paris Agreement and other climate targets, by reducing GHG emissions through lower energy demand.
Protect Public Health and Environment
By committing to phase out mercury-containing linear fluorescent lamps, governments will protect public health and the environment. Phasing out fluorescents will eliminate 232 metric tons of mercury pollution from the environment by 2050.
Mercury is a known pollutant. Exposure to mercury even in small amounts can result in long-term effects, it is particularly dangerous for fetuses and developing children. Mercury released from fluorescents can travel hundreds of miles through the wind and remain actively toxic in the environment for decades. It accumulates in water bodies where it converts into toxic methylmercury and enters the food chain, posing a significant threat to wildlife and food systems.
As lighting markets in wealthy countries shift to clean LED lighting, developing countries become vulnerable to being used as dumping grounds for old and inefficient technologies. If a fluorescent phase-out policy is adopted under the Minamata Convention, countries can no longer manufacture, import, and export fluorescents. Developed economies will be unable to export of toxic and obsolete fluorescent technology, while developing economies stand firm against becoming global dumping grounds for inefficient, mercury-containing lighting.
Reduced Strain on National Grids
LEDs consume up to 50% less energy than mercury-containing fluorescents and last 2-3 times longer. Eliminating exemptions for linear fluorescent lamps will substantially reduce the pressure on national grids and save 9,602 TWh of energy consumption from 2025-2050. In developed economies, reduced power use will free up energy for other uses. In developing economies, the energy saved will allow for greater energy access for all, without straining the national grid.
How is CLiC supporting Governments?
Ahead of COP5, CLiC is offering technical support to governments by:
- Preparing regional roadmaps for transitioning to LED lighting. These roadmaps will include Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and other enabling activities relevant to the region, including financing options
- Compiling and sharing data on the economic opportunities, specific to the market and individual countries.
- Supporting evidence-based studies to demonstrate the health, economic and environmental benefits of mercury-free lighting.
For support or any questions regarding the proposal and the transition to LED light bulbs reach out to our regional leads.
Transitioning to inexpensive, energy-efficient LED retrofit lighting is not only smart, but it is also environmentally friendly and inevitable. We see it here in Ghana and across Africa. Under the Minamata Convention, the world has a unique opportunity to accelerate this transition to LED by removing exemptions for fluorescent lighting which contain hazardous mercury.Kofi A. Agyarko Director, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, & Climate Change Energy Commission