Electricity for lighting is responsible for 19% of total end use electrical consumption and for 6% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This equals to the combined emissions from Germany and Japan. Over the next 20 years global electricity consumption for lighting is expected to increase by 60%.
Shifting to efficient lighting technologies would cut the world share of electricity used for lighting from 19 to 7%. This would save enough electricity to close 705 of the world’s 2 670 coal-fired plants. In addition, it could save countries and users a considerable amount of money in avoided electricity bills, making available these resources for other human needs. Few actions can cut carbon emissions more easily than the phase-out of inefficient lighting, making it one of the most effective and economically advantageous means to combat climate change.
Activities aimed at phasing out inefficient technologies have been increasingly introduced in recent years, yet market forces on their own have proven insufficient to achieve rapid lighting market transformation, especially in view of the urgent need to reduce emissions posed by climate change. Experiences throughout the world point to the need to coordinate global efforts and provide technical support to assist countries in introducing efficient lighting transformation programs.
The UNEP en.lighten initiative has been established to promote, accelerate and coordinate global efforts to push for efficient lighting. It seeks to accelerate the global commercialization and market transformation of efficient lighting technologies by working at global level and provide support to countries. In doing so it aims at strengthening capacities among governments, private sector and civil society to lead successful lighting market transformation programs.
The en.lighten partnership aims to restrict the global supply of inefficient light bulbs and promote market adoption of most efficient alternatives by way of an "integrated approach" including:
- Adoption of globally harmonized minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for CFL performance by December 31, 2015, leading to the phase-out of all incandescent lamps by this date
- Setting up of monitoring, verification and enforcement (MVE) schemes in countries to ensure compliance with global standards and remove low quality products from the marketplace
- Supporting interested countries in establishing focused waste management efforts including: waste collection, disposal and/or recycling
- Country support activities in the form of communications, policies and innovative finance mechanisms to encourage and support the transition to efficient lighting
- Technical suport developed by international experts for those countries willing to develop national efficient lighting strategies and join the en.lighten partnership.
en.lighten is a GEF Earth Fund initiative implemented by UNEP in partnership with Philips Lighting and OSRAM GmbH.