Banning Incandescent Bulbs, Is it Necessary?

July 28, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. ban (v.) [ban] – to stop (or not allow) something or someone, especially by law
Example: Minors are banned from buying cigarettes and alcohol.

2. incandescent (adj.) [in-kuhn-des-uhnt] – producing light by the use of heat
Example: Manufacturers are designing incandescent light bulbs that consume less energy.  
3. coal-fired (adj.) [kohl] [fahyuhrd] – heated by burning coal
Example: Smoke produced from coal-fired power plants cause harm to people’s health.

4. interfere (v.) [in-ter-feer]  – to get involved in something (usually to change or stop an action)
Example: The boss had to interfere to stop the argument between his employees.

5. compelling (adj.) [kuhm-pel-ing] – requiring immediate action or attention
Example: Global warming is not a compelling issue for some people.

Read the text below.

Activists and politicians in the US are protesting against a bill that plans to ban incandescent bulbs by 2020. The bill, approved by President Bush in 2007, requires incandescent bulbs to be more efficient starting 2012.

Supporters of the bill claim that using incandescent bulbs costs more because they consume more power. With fluorescent bulbs, Americans can save $12 billion in a year, equivalent to $85 a year for every house.

In addition, supporters say the bill can help save the environment. If fewer people use incandescent bulbs, there will be no need to build additional coal-fired power plants to supply power to these bulbs. Power plants are known to emit gases that contribute to global warming.  

However, critics of this bill argue that people should be allowed to buy whatever they choose, without the government setting laws that interfere with people’s decisions.

They also think the environment reasons are not compelling enough, as most of them do not believe in global warming. These critics claim that, on the contrary, fluorescent bulbs pose more harm to people because of the bulbs’ poisonous mercury content.

Politicians supporting the bill defend that negotiations with light bulb manufacturers are on-going in order to lessen the content of mercury. 

They also deny the total ban on incandescent bulbs. The bill simply requires more efficient ones. This means that by 2020, incandescent bulbs will still be available but will be much more expensive. Furthermore, other alternatives are also available, such as LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you use incandescent light bulbs?
·         Can you think of other possible advantages and disadvantages of using incandescent light bulbs?

Discussion B

·         What do you think is the real cause of global warming?
·         Do you think people should be alarmed about global warming?

July 28, 2011