Australia will be the world's first country to ban incandescent lightbulbs in a bid to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with the government saying on Tuesday they would be phased out within three years.
Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yellow incandescent bulbs, which have been in use virtually unchanged for 125 years, would be replaced by more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs by 2009.
"By that stage you simply won't be able to buy incandescent lightbulbs, because they won't meet the energy standard," Turnbull told local radio.
Australia along with the U.S. has refused to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol setting greenhouse gas reduction targets, calling instead for an agreement requiring energy-hungry developing countries like India and China to help combat climate change.
Turnbull said the banning of incandescent bulbs would help trim 800,000 tonnes from Australia's current emissions level by 2012 and lower household lighting costs by 66%.
British and Californian lawmakers also have been lobbying for bans on incandescent lightbulbs, which lose much of their energy as heat.
Australia's conservative Prime Minister John Howard said he would not adopt any greenhouse targets which hurt the country's resource-reliant economy.
Australians are per head among the world's biggest greenhouse gas producers, but climate change issues are shaping up as major concerns for voters in national elections due later this year as severe drought grips the country.