Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Every Australian capital commits to Earth Hour
March 19 2008: All major cities in Australia are now officially signed up to Earth Hour, with Hobart and Darwin the latest additions to the list.
As Earth Hour’s giant light-bulb hot air balloon takes flight and begins its journey over Australia today, momentum continues to build across the nationally and globally for the largest voluntary power down event in history.
Millions of Australians and tens of millions of people across the world will switch off their lights on 8pm on March 29, to make a global stand against climate change.
Kicking off in Suva, Fiji, Earth Hour will roll through 14 time zones, wrapping up in San Francisco, USA. To date, 24 cities around the globe have been designated by World Wildlife Fund as official Earth Hour flagship cities, from Melbourne to Manila and Brisbane to Bangkok, via Chicago, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Toronto. Hundreds of supporter cities in numerous countries will also participate.
Globally significant landmarks continue to sign-up to switch off their lights including the Australian Antarctica base station Casey, Niagara Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world and America’s infamous jail Alcatraz. In the UK, Brighton Pier to Highgrove House - Prince Charles' Gloucestershire residence - to the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, lights will go dark.
“The ground swell behind Earth Hour has been overwhelming and it‘s set to get stronger as the March 29 gets closer. Here in Australia, hundreds of councils and over 88 per cent of the nation’s top 100 ASX listed companies are on board, with these figures set to grow in the lead up to Earth Hour.
“Despite its success, Earth Hour Australia is running on the support and commitment of volunteers, community groups and the services of large corporations, for which we are extremely grateful. However we need to continue the momentum”, said Greg Bourne, CEO WWF-Australia.
Despite being an Australian initiative, Canada is leading the way of in peoples participation in the event with more than 20,000 people, 1,000 businesses and 50 cities signed-up so far, with the USA closely behind and Australia third on the list. In a world first, all city buildings in Toronto CBD area including the CN Tower the world’s tallest building in the North America and City Hall, who be hosting a free concert on the night with singer Nelly Furtado, will turn off their lights. Major corporations including Walmart have pledge their national support.
“Australians like to be winners, so the nation must ‘rally the troops’ to establish itself as a leader on climate change”, said Bourne.
The balloon is on loan to Earth Hour from AGL, which has invested over $2 billion to deliver renewable energy sources to help secure Australia’s energy future
Footage is available from Channel Nine News.
High resolution images are available for editorial use only.
For images or more information contact:
Charlotte Greig, WWF-Australia M: 0404 111 919
About Earth Hour
On March 31 2007, for one hour, Sydney made a powerful statement about the greatest contributor to global warming – coal- fired electricity – by turning off its lights. Over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses turned off their lights, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as one city taking a stand against global warming caught the attention of the world. In 2008, 24 global cities will participate in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.
WWF-Australia is part of the WWF International Network, the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. It has close to five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. This is achieved by working on the ground with local communities, and in partnership with government and industry, using the best possible science to advocate change and effective conservation policy.
AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies. Drawing on 170 years of experience, it includes retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer base. This includes customers supplied with gas and electricity through AGL's joint venture partnership with ActewAGL. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. One of Australia’s largest renewable energy producers, AGL is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.