December 13, 2007 19:01 ET

Toronto and Other Major Cities Join WWF in the Fight Against Dangerous Climate Change


BALI, INDONESIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2007) - WWF today launched Earth Hour 2008, a global initiative in which cities and communities will turn off their lights for one hour to symbolize their leadership and commitment to finding solutions for climate change.

The flagship participants in the WWF-led event on March 29, 2008 are: Aalborg, Aarhus, Copenhagen and Odense, Denmark; Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Chicago, USA; Manila, Philippines; Suva, Fiji; Tel Aviv, Israel; Toronto, Canada. More cities from around the world are expected to join in the days ahead.

"On behalf of the WWF International network, I want to commend and thank the mayors and officials in our flagship cities for playing a leadership role in supporting this unique global event and demonstrating their commitment to fighting climate change," said WWF Director General James Leape.

"During Earth Hour, governments, businesses, community leaders and individuals will be turning off their lights and switching on their support for actions that can help make a difference in the most significant challenge facing the world today. While we expect the government leaders here in Bali to make courageous decisions that are needed to save our planet, Earth Hour reminds us that each of us can be part of the solution to climate change," Leape said.

In Canada, Earth Hour provides an opportunity for citizens and sub-national governments to demonstrate climate leadership. Turning off the lights for an hour is a thoughtful and symbolic action everyone can take which sends a clear message that action is possible and inaction is unacceptable.

"I am proud to announce that the city of Toronto will continue our fight against global warming by being part of Earth Hour in 2008. Every resident, every business and every government has a duty to fight global warming because reducing the world's emissions is a shared responsibility. I believe where nations fail to lead, cities can and must lead. In the city of Toronto we have very aggressive goals to reduce global warming and stop climate change," said David Miller, Mayor of Toronto. "The Earth Hour project is a very exciting way to raise awareness of this critical issue. I encourage all Torontonians at 8pm on March 29 to turn off their lights. Because we all know that changes to everyday behaviors is the only way we can succeed."

"Earth Hour gives Torontonians, and all Canadians, a chance to be part of an international community committed to reducing global warming pollution," said Mike Russill, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. "Millions of people turning out the lights for an hour will make a significant statement about people's commitment to take action for our planet, and WWF can help them."

WWF's inaugural Earth Hour took place in Sydney Australia in March this year (2007) with more than 2.2 million people participating in an effort that darkened icons such as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and resulted in a ten per cent drop in energy usage - double what had been predicted.

"In March 2007, 2.2 million Sydneysiders began the Earth Hour journey, and now it is time to take Earth Hour to the rest of the world," said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, urging her fellow mayors throughout the world to join the Earth Hour initiative. "From rural towns in the outback to highly populated iconic cities - everyone can take simple steps to make Earth Hour happen."

Mayors from other flagship cities issued the following statements in support of the event:

Richard M Daley, Mayor of Chicago (USA)

"Global warming has become a serious threat to our world and it's important for us to be part of the solution by making changes in our lives and our communities to reduce our carbon footprint. It's my goal to make Chicago the most environmentally-friendly city in the world and I am pleased and honoured to join mayors and leaders worldwide in support of Earth Hour 2008. I encourage everyone to take part in this important initiative."

Ritt Bjerregaard, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen (Denmark)

"It is very important to give a signal to people that you can make a difference and help us to shut down the lights to reduce the amount of CO2. In Copenhagen, people will be thinking about climate change and how they can help the situation. I hope that all cities, all over the world will be part of it. Our cities inhabitants take climate change seriously. Maybe there are a few politicians who are not taking it seriously and who are not willing to go into a different type of agreement, but our citizens are serious and will show them on the day."

John So, Lord Mayor of Melbourne (Australia)

"I am proud to announce that the City of Melbourne will join Sydney and Brisbane in the fight against global warming, by being part of Earth Hour in 2008. One small contribution from each and every person is a pledge to reduce emissions by five per cent. That is the message of Earth Hour. I urge the people of Melbourne to get behind Earth Hour and let the world know Melbourne is serious about being an environmentally responsible city."

About WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada is part of the WWF International Network, the world's largest independent conservation organization. Founded in 1967, WWF-Canada has become one of the country's leading conservation organizations, enjoying the active support of more than 100,000 Canadians. WWF-Canada works to save nature by conserving species and protecting their habitats; by ensuring our use of natural resources is sustainable, and by helping individuals, companies and governments reduce pollution. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

This news release and associated material can be found on wwf.ca.

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