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EU to Phase Out Standard Light Bulbs by 2012

European Union nations agreed Monday to phase out sales of standard light bulbs by 2012 as part of their efforts to save energy and reduce global warming

The EU says the switch to low-energy light bulbs will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12 million metric tons (13.2 million tons) a year. It claims the energy saved will be the equivalent to the entire electricity consumption of Romania or the output of 10 power stations.

After approval by the European Parliament, EU officials hope the phase out of traditional bulbs will begin in March 2009.

After its adoption, consumers will be able to chose between long-life fluorescent lamps or halogen laps. The EU say they will being energy savings of 25 percent to 75 percent compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

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The EU says the measure will save households up to 50 euros ($64) a year and pump up to 10 billion euros ($13 billion) into the economy.

"European homes will keep the same quality of lighting, while saving energy, CO2 and money," Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.

The measure is part of a series of energy-saving measures planned by the EU to cut emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming and reduce energy expenditure.

Several nations including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Philippines have already announced they will phase out or restrict sales of traditional bulbs.

The incandescent bulb, which is little changed since Thomas Edison invented it, uses more power than energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs and halogen lamps.