Date: 2007-07-05 18:39:00
all your carbon emission reductions are belong to us

Today I got a voucher in the mail for reduced price CFLs: 5 EcobulbTM lights for $10. It'd be a great deal if we hadn't already switched all our bulbs to CFLs. Anyway, in the fine print on the voucher there is an odd restriction:

In purchasing or using EcobulbTM lights, you agree that CO2 emission reductions resulting from their use are the property of Energy Mad Limited.

Can they do that? Does it make sense for the vendor of an appliance to somehow "own" the reduction in emissions that may or may not result from their use? Is this an attempt to make some kind of land grab of carbon emission reductions so they would be able to minimise the amount of carbon offsets they would have to buy if they were to go "carbon neutral"? By them retaining the ownership of the reduction in carbon emissions realised by all their customers, would this mean that customers who use their bulbs would have to calculate their energy use based on normal incandescent bulbs if they wanted to neutralise their carbon footprint? Not to mention, in theory carbon offsets themselves can be bought and sold in some kind of trading market.

This is all very virtual and confusing. I wonder whether other CFL vendors try to pull the same trick.

[info]edm : Carbon Emissions
Interesting. I assume what they're trying to do is get enough CFLs deployed over whch they can claim carbon credits in order to have something meaningful to sell. Presumably most consumers won't care all that much, but I imagine a bunch of businesses will be fitting them with the idea of claiming to be carbon neutral themselves. There seem to be a bunch of businesses springing up at present which are offering to sell "carbon offsets", mostly to people/companies that want to feel green and/or be perceived as green. Possibly it's the new boom industry.

It is, however, curious to see a EULA on a lightbulb voucher...

OK, that's just messed up.

I think they're trying to do something like:

Each bulb offsets the CO2 by X. We sold Y number of bulbs. Therefore, we've got Z amount of total CO2 offset that we can sell to someone else.
That seems like a pretty seriously bad thing on multiple levels.
Suppose that you see the low-energy bulbs for sale somewhere. You didn't know anything much about light bulbs. You wonder why these look funny and read the packaging. You are enlightened about energy usage and buy the bulbs, and also decide to turn off the lights when you're not in the room. Do they only own the savings caused by using a different type of bulb, or also the ones caused by switching off??
I was wondering that too. But apparently since that clause is on the voucher, it doesn't apply if you just buy the bulbs at the regular retail rate.
There's a whole speculative market springing up around CO.2 credits and some economists are predicting it will become very profitable. It works much like a stock market, where you can trade shares of carbon credits to companies that can't or don't meet emissions restrictions for their country/state/location.

But I take issue with the Vender trying to claim those credits. It's supposed to be for the entity buying power. But fair enough, if they desire the credits for the bulbs, then they should provide "free" shipping for spent bulbs to their recycling unit to offset the Mercury pollution that CFL's produce.

They do recycle them for you . . . don't they? Don't they?
Hmm, maybe I'll try to ask whether they're willing to take responsibility for recycling the bulbs, if they're also taking responsibility for the reduction in emissions. It's almost as if the consumers are leasing the bulbs or something.
Greg Hewgill <>