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Change a lightbulb, change the world

How many seconds does it take to change a lightbulb from an energy-wasting conventional incandescent bulb to an energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulb? Just 18 seconds.

That's the premise behind a new Web site dubbed encouraging people to help reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and curb global warming.

The site was built by seven Yahoo employees who were given a sabbatical from their regular work to dedicate themselves to the project. The idea for the site arose from discussions that Amy Lorio, Yahoo News general manager, had with Lawrence Bender, producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's movie on the dangers of the climate crisis.

The Web site tracks nationwide purchases of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Since the beginning of the year, just over 13.7 million CFLs have been purchased. The energy-saving bulbs last an average of five to seven years.

If every American swapped just one regular bulb for a CFL, it would collectively save more than $8 billion in energy costs, prevent the burning of 30 billion pounds of coal and keep 2 million cars' worth of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere, according to a statement released by Yahoo.