Yahoo, Wal-Mart Join Light Bulb Campaign

Wednesday, February 21st 2007, 7:52 pm
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A coalition of private companies and government agencies is launching a grass-roots marketing campaign to persuade more Americans to help combat global warming by using energy-efficient light bulbs.

The 18Seconds movement is aimed at getting Americans to replace electricity-wasting incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that are up to five times more efficient and last several times longer.

The campaign _ named for the average time it takes to change a light bulb _ is scheduled to launch Thursday at the Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose.

The coalition includes Yahoo Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Environmental Defense, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, U.S. mayors, retailers, religious organizations and conservation groups.

The campaign's goal is to increase awareness of energy-efficient light bulbs as a way to slow global climate change, organizers say. If every American swapped just one bulb, advocates say, the country could save $8 billion in energy costs and eliminate 2 million cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions.

``It's a huge savings for the country and consumers, and it gets people thinking about what can they do,'' said Lawrence Bender, producer of ``An Inconvenient Truth,'' Al Gore's documentary on global warming.

The coalition plans to create a series of ``hip and cool'' public service announcements featuring Hollywood actors, sports stars and other celebrities to play on Internet video sites and at movie theaters, Bender said.

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo has created a Web site _ _ that will track bulb sales and energy savings nationwide and encourage bulb-switching competition among cities and states.

``We're using technology to illustrate that small lifestyle changes can indeed add up to having tremendous collective impact on the planet,'' Yahoo co-founder David Filo said.

The campaign coincides with lawmakers' efforts in California and New Jersey to push legislation banning the incandescent bulb. On Tuesday, the Australian government announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with fluorescent bulbs nationwide.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart plans to expand its efforts to educate consumers about the benefits of energy-saving bulbs and has set a goal of selling 100 million of them this year.