Okay, this isn't very serious, but I can't resist this story. A couple of German "entrepreneurs" (or artists, maybe?) led by Siegfried Rotthaeuser figured out, at least temporarily, how to bypass the EU's ban on traditional incandescent bulbs. They started importing 75-Watt and 100-Watt bulbs from China and marketing them as space heaters. Because, after all, inefficient incandescent bulbs release 95 percent of their energy as heat, and only 5 percent as light. So Rotthaeuser actually has a pretty good point.
They call it the HEATBALL® and the clever piece of runaround marketing goes like this:
As of this past Saturday, January 1, 2011, standard 100-watt incandescent light bulbs are being phased off of California store shelves. Bulbs that were manufactured before January 1 or already on store shelves can still be legally sold and purchased, but no more of the low-tech, energy sucking bulbs can be brought to market in California.
The California Energy Commission is quick to claim that this is not a "ban" on incandescent bulbs, but rather a new energy efficiency standard. In fact, it's the same standard that was passed by Congress and signed into federal law by George W. Bush, which will go into effect on January 1, 2012. As is so often the case, California legislators decided to get ahead of the rest of the nation.