Thursday, March 26, 2009


74 cities in 62 countries commit to Earth Hour 2009

- Earth Hour aims to reach one billion people in 1,000 cities around the world- Economic downturn an opportunity to steer economy into safer sustainable futureDecember 10, 2008: 74 cities in 62 countries are announcing their commitment to switch off for WWF’s Earth Hour in 2009.

The campaign, which hopes to reach out to more than one billion people in 1,000 cities around the world, asks individuals, businesses and governments to switch off lights for just one hour on Saturday March 28 at 8:30pm to create a platform of support for action on climate change.Earth Hour aims to demonstrate unprecedented solidarity and provide a visual mandate for action on climate change.

The lights out initiative, which began in Sydney in 2007 as a public awareness raising campaign, has grown significantly over the past two years and now has 74 cities ready to flick the switch in 2009. Cities already committed include Moscow, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rome, Manila, Oslo, Cape Town, Warsaw, Lisbon, Singapore, Istanbul, Mexico City, Toronto, Dubai and Copenhagen.At 8.30 pm on Saturday March 28, the world will witness some of the most recognisable landmarks on the planet dim the lights in support of decisive action on climate change.

Icons switching off include the world’s tallest building in Dubai – the Burj Dubai, the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas - the CN Tower in Toronto, Moscow’s Federation Tower and in Rome – Quirinale - the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.Auckland’s Sky Tower – the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere will go dark, joined by Australia’s iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House and across in Cape Town, South Africa, the iconic Table Mountain will mark Earth Hour by turning off its flood lights.Director General of WWF International Jim Leape said, “When leaders gather in Copenhagen in December 2009 to negotiate a new deal on climate they must feel that the eyes of the world are upon them.”“Earth Hour provides an opportunity for the public to send a powerful signal that they are watching and expect action,” said Mr Leape.Executive Director of Earth Hour Global, Mr Andy Ridley said, “Recent events have shown that the world can unite in a time of crisis. The global economic crunch is an example where, when it matters, decisive multi-lateral action by powerful nations has been shown to be achievable.”Mr David Miller, Mayor of Toronto and chair of the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group said, “The C40 Climate Leadership Group is about cities working together to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and that is why as Chair of the C40 I support Earth Hour.

It's crucial that cities and the public come together to take action against climate change and Earth Hour provides a great platform to do that.”Mr Ridley also said 2009 was the planet’s ‘destiny year’, with critical decisions needed to be made at the Copenhagen meeting on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.“2009 is the year we decide the future of the earth. It is the year when the world meets to agree on a plan to reduce carbon emissions across the globe. This is the time to invest in new ways of doing business in a new low carbon economy. We must all step over the line together if we are to succeed.”The extensive WWF conservation network also has more than 30 teams working in countries such as Brazil, Greece, India, Peru, Spain, Switzerland and France, ready to support a local Earth Hour roll out.

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