March 26, 2010 10:49 ET

Global Success of Earth Hour Shows Huge Public Support for Action on Climate Change-G8 Must Pay Heed

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 26, 2010) - The overwhelming participation expected for Earth Hour on Saturday shows that Canadian support for federal leadership on climate change is standing strong. Over 3400 cities and municipalities in 125 countries have signed up for Earth Hour activities, including more than 290 cities and municipalities in Canada. An estimated 10 million Canadians, and as many as 1 billion people worldwide, will participate in Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour in a symbolic show of support for action on climate change.

"The success of Earth Hour year after year shows that Canadians want their government to put greening the economy on the table here at home and when it is a player on the world stage," said Keith Stewart, Climate Change Director at WWF-Canada. "They want to be part of the climate solution now and don't think we should try to sweep the problem under the rug for our kids to fix later."

According to polling done for WWF-Canada in advance of Earth Hour:

  • Eighty-eight per cent of Canadians believe it is "important" or "critically important" for "Canada to play a strong leadership role in promoting global solutions to climate change, by working with other countries and setting a good example for others to follow." In contrast, only nine per cent believed it was "not at all important" or "not very important.

  • Eighty-five per cent of Canadians believe that Canada can make a "some difference" or a "big difference" in "helping to find global solutions to climate change." In contrast, only 14 per cent believed it could make "no difference at all" or "little difference."

These polling numbers are being released in advance of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in Gatineau, Quebec on Monday to discuss the agenda for the upcoming G8 Summit. Canada will host and co-chair the G8 and G20 Summits that will take place in June. While previous announcements by the Prime Minister's Office have indicated climate change will be on the agenda, to date there has been no indication it will be discussed at the foreign ministers meeting, and Canada has not scheduled a meeting of Environment Ministers in preparation for the G8 Summit.

In addition, Canada remains one of the only countries yet to announce its contribution to the $30 Billion in new and additional funding from 2010-2012 to help poor countries tackle climate change announced as part of the Copenhagen Accord. Canada's fair share of this funding is in the range $320-$420 million per year in new funds, over and above any existing Official Development Assistance.

"In Copenhagen, world leaders agreed on two things. The first was that we need to keep global warming below the 2 degree danger zone and the second was that existing commitments won't get that job done," continued Stewart. "As host, Canada has a responsibility to put climate action on the table of the G8 and G20 meetings to start closing this credibility gap."

Editors Notes:

Earth Hour polling results provided by Environics Research Group Limited in the Canadian Environmental Barometer polling conducted February 4 through 9, 2010.

Further information on Earth Hour may be found at: http://wwf.ca/earthour/

An assessment of the 'gap' between even the most ambitious emission cuts pledged to date and the reductions needed to give even a moderate chance of achieving the Copenhagen Accord's stated goal of staying below two degrees of warming is available at http://assets.panda.org/downloads/the_stepping_stone_final_280110.pdf

Contact Information

  • WWF-Canada
    Keith Stewart
    Climate Change Program Director
    416-489-4567 ext. 7257
    Cell: 647-328-5518
    Zoe Caron
    Climate Policy and Advocacy Specialist
    416-489-4567 ext. 7267
    Cell: 647-993-5251