There is. It's called lumens, (I think in metric, it's lux).
Trouble is, most people have no idea how many lumens a
60-watt incadescant is supposed to put out.
But the color of the light also makes a difference in perceived
brightness. And it's important to remember that when they
compare new technology to old, they use the crappiest example
of the old technology they can find.
They might be, depending on the conditions of the comparison. CFL
output depends on more things than incandescents.
Incandescents come on at full brightness almost instantly, CFLs take a
minute or so to reach full output. Sometimes even several minutes if
the lamp is old or hadn't been turned on for a long time.
Incandescent output doesn't depend much on temperature. Some CFLs don't
work well below 50 degrees F.
Standard incandescents dim somewhat with age. Halogen incandescents
hardly dim at all before they fail completely. CFLs get slowly dimmer
with age, and sometimes should be replaced because they aren't
producing light very efficiently any more even though they haven't
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