Earth Hour in Cancun a prelude to key climate role



Posted on 15 March 2010  | 
Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.
Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.
© WWF-Canon / Hartmut JUNGIUSEnlarge
Cancun, Mexico - When Earth Hour rolls into the city of Cancun on Mexico's east coast on March 27th, it will be a prelude to the city's year in the climate spotlight.

It might be lights out for an hour from 8:30 pm for Earth Hour, but it will be television lights on in November when ministers and representatives of the world's governments flood in to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to try to add detail and firm up the commitments reached at last year's Copenhagen Accord.

The need for action remains extremely urgent, and the Cancun discussions must produce tangible results," said Vanessa Pérez-Cirera, Climate Change Director for WWF-Mexico.

“While a positive political recognition on the need to keep below 2 degrees was reached, we should be orienting our economic growth plans to the goal of keeping below 1.5 degrees as recent science has revealed if, for example, we want to continue having viable coral reef systems, a land-mark of Cancún and the Yucatán Península,” she said.

Earth Hour is the great opportunity people around the world have to underline to our leaders that we want adequate and decisive action on climate change.

This year in Mexico Earth Hour will be a country-wide initiative supported by the Federal Government, the Mexico City Government, the alliance WWF-Fundación Carlos Slim, HSBC and Coca-Cola.

“Earth Hour sets the tone for a year in which businesses, individuals and governments must strengthen the work together to set our planet back on the right track. We in the host country for COP16 must show all what the Government, local communities, businesses and civil society groups in Mexico are doing to mitigate global climate change” said Omar Vidal, Director of WWF-Mexico.

"Calls from the people are particularly powerful"

Further south in the Americas, Ecuador will be preparing for its first ever participation in Earth Hour. Among the keenest participants will be the new WWF International President, Yolanda Kakabadse, a former Ecuadorian Environment Minister with a long and distinguished career in resolving environmental and other conflicts between policy makers, industry and social groups.

“Never doubt that decision makers will be watching what masses of people do in their homes and communities for Earth Hour,” she said. “Dealing with climate change is not easy and leaders are themselves are looking for leadership on the issue.

“Calls from the people are particularly powerful.”

Bolivia, meanwhile, will be experiencing something of a forest-based Earth Hour with a key focal point being in the city of Santa Cruz where 150 companies and institutions involved in responsible forestry and trade in wood products are involved in the annual Forest Exposition.

"Deforestation is a major problem in Bolivia, and is responsible for four-fifths our all our carbon emissions" said WWF Bolivia's Conservation Director, Mr. Adolfo Moreno.

"Earth Hour gives us an excellent opportunity to further the dialogue on this issue, and encourage both the government and companies to do their part to reduce our carbon footprint."

The Expo includes a forum to discuss climate change in Bolivia and the priorities the country will take to Cancun, Mexico for the UN climate conference in December.

Seven other Bolivian cities, including capital La Paz will be celebrating Earth Hour this year, which is significant uptake in civic participation, and marks the increasing interest the public is taking in the danger posed by climate change.

These dangers are considerable. According to the National Navy Hydrographic Service (SNHN), currently there are at least nine rivers in the Bolivian Amazon Basin registering an increase in flows, jeopardizing numerous riverside communities and underlining the priority that needs to be given to mitigating and adapting to climate change in the short term.

Another climate change related impact foreseen by scientists for the year 2030 is that the mythical Titicaca Lake will have been reduced and divided in three parts. 

Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.
Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.
© WWF-Canon / Hartmut JUNGIUS Enlarge

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