Earth Hour

Earth Hour

January 17, 2013 07:00 ET

Media Release: B.C. Cities Take the Lead on Essential Climate Action

GLAND, SWITZERLAND--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2013) - Vancouver, Surrey and Colwood of British Columbia are the Canadian finalists for WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) along with a diverse cross-section of cities around the world recognized for their innovative actions on climate change.

The 17 finalists were selected from 66 entrants and include cities from Canada, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the U.S., each progressing to the final round of the challenge following a thorough evaluation by WWF and global management consultancy Accenture.

The EHCC aims to mobilize action and support from cities in the global transition to a climate-friendly future.

Cities have contributed significantly to climate change due to a history of unsustainable consumption and production patterns, and are currently responsible for over 70 per cent of fossil fuel related carbon dioxide emissions globally. Yet cities are also be part of the solution, according to Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.

"The Earth Hour City Challenge clearly demonstrates that strong commitments at the local level can help reverse unsustainable trends. We applaud the many local governments who have set extremely ambitious development plans to create desirable cities by providing housing, transportation and energy which improve their citizens' quality of life while simultaneously reducing their impact on our planet - and we encourage others to follow their lead," says Leape.

"B.C.'s strong provincial climate action plan may be one reason why we have such a strong showing from cities in this province. We are also seeing inspiring and ambitious actions from cities across Canada. We were impressed by the on-the-ground actions of all the Canadian applicants, such as Waterloo, Greater Sudbury, Fredericton, Edmonton, Richmond and North Vancouver," says Linda Nowlan, director of Pacific conservation, WWF-Canada.

These 17 global finalists have reported impressive climate actions, and exhibited a level of ambition that deserves further consideration:

Canada: Colwood, Surrey, Vancouver
Honorable mention: North Vancouver
India: Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi
Italy: Forli, Siena
Norway: Arendal, Oslo, Stavanger
Sweden: Malmö, Stockholm, Uppsala
USA: Chicago, Cincinnati, San Francisco

Actions taken by these cities include the implementation of congestion charges in Stockholm and the expansion of public transport systems in Chicago and New Delhi as a means of reducing the use of private cars. Meanwhile, in Colwood and Coimbatore solar energy hubs are being developed to kick-start the transition toward widespread renewable energy use. Many of the potential Earth Hour capitals are also focusing on the refurbishment of old buildings, resource efficiency, as well as the integration of strict sustainability criteria to public procurement policies.

WWF has worked closely with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, in mobilizing cities to join the challenge and enabling their reporting through carbon Cities Climate Registry (cCCR).

"Cities are already aware of the need for measuring, reporting and verifying their actions in order to advance climate action globally. ICLEI is pleased to support the Earth Hour City Challenge as an excellent model of partnership with civil society to motivate and reward local governments for their achievements," says Gino van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI.

An international jury of experts* has been tasked with identifying one city per country worthy of the title Earth Hour Capital. These capitals, together with the Global Earth Hour Capital, will be presented at a conference on March 19, 2013 in Malmö, Sweden.

Notes to Editors

*Earth Hour City Challenge Jury

  • Gino van Bergin, Secretary General of ICLEI
  • Martha Delgado, General Director of the Secretariat of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate
  • Amanda Eichel, Director of Initiatives and City Support, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  • Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary
  • Simon Giles, Senior Principal Intelligent Cities, Accenture Global, Accenture
  • Dan Hoornweg, Professor and Jeff Boyce Research Chair, Faculty of Energy Systems and Engineering, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Pietro Laureano, architect and urban planner, is a UNESCO consultant
  • Conor Riffle, Head of CDP Cities


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About WWF

WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive. www.wwf.ca.

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