/ ©: Earth Hour City Challenge
With more than 70% of the world’s CO2 emissions generated by residents in cities, the Earth Hour City Challenge has been created to mobilize action and support from cities in the global transition towards a climate friendly one-planet future. The challenge invites cities to submit inspiring and credible urban development plans that dramatically increase the city’s use of renewable energy.

The Earth Hour City Challenge initiative has been created to celebrate cities that are taking amazing steps forward in creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable city to live in, while inspiring other cities to do the same.

City of Cape Town
© City of Cape Town

Congratulations Cape Town!
– Global Earth Hour Capital 2014

At a ceremony in Vancouver, Canada, WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) awarded Cape Town, South Africa the title Global Earth Hour Capital 2014. The city is recognized for its ambition and pioneering actions to combat climate change in its effort to bolster quality of life for its citizens. Cape Town succeeds last year’s winner Vancouver, Canada.

Cape Town stood out as a role model for the Global South with a showcase of green programs and actions other cities can replicate. Cape Town demonstrates how city strategies to reduce carbon development and battle climate change can also help tackle other development priorities such as food, energy and water security. The city has taken bold steps towards transitioning its energy system away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy with its roll out of a solar water heating program. Community engagement on sustainability issues and strong progress with energy efficiency, especially a large-scale retrofitting program for its buildings stock, were other pioneering actions highlighted.

Over 160 cities from 14 countries joined the competition, more than double the participation from last year. This year, the jury paid particular attention to each city’s level of ambition and innovation for low carbon development in relation to their local context.

The Vancouver ceremony also awarded the 13 other shortlisted cities for the global award as Earth Hour National Capitals. Along with Cape Town, selected as National Capital for South Africa, the other national award winners as selected by the EHCC jury of experts are:
  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
  • Chicago, The United States
  • Coimbatore, India
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Edmonton, Canada
  • Lappeenranta, Finland
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Monteria, Colombia
  • Muangklang, Thailand
  • Semarang, Indonesia
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Stockholm, Sweden

The cities of Copenhagen, Chicago, Seoul and Stockholm also received honorary awards from the jury for the ambition, scale and impact of their actions, and commitment to transitioning to a 100% renewable-energy based future.

We Love Khunan and Medellin

The City Challenge also awarded the winning cities for its social media campaign We Love Cities. Over 300,000 votes were received from people around the world to select their most loveable of our 33 finalist cities and also send in their suggestions online of how to make them more sustainable. Tied for first place were the cities of Khunan, Thailand and Medellin, Colombia.

Visit Carbonn Cities Climate Registry for more information on what these cities are doing to develop sustainably and to transition toward a 100% renewable energy future.
 / ©: WWF
We love cities
 / ©: WWF
 / ©: WWF

How the challenge works

Cities are invited to report relevant data, plans and actions via an internationally recognized carbon reporting platform for cities, carbonn Cities Climate Registry, managed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Outreach and support to cities will be provided in collaboration with ICLEI and the final plans and data reviewed by an international jury.

The international jury will review development plans for building, transport, energy and food systems – solutions that will make a city greener and cleaner and improve living standards for residents. This year 163 cities from 14 countries participate in the Earth Hour City Challenge.

Earth Hour Capitals 2013

Last year's Global Earth Hour Capital 2013, as well as six national capitals and the People’s Choice Award were presented at the Earth Hour City Challenge and Award Ceremony in Malmö, Sweden on March 19, 2013. A number of impressive initiatives were highlighted in profiles of country finalists in a People’s Choice campaign where people around the world were invited to vote for their favorite among these cities. 

Christiana Figueres, member of the international jury for the WWF Earth Hour City Challenge, recognized the participation of all cities involved in the challenge at the Award ceremony 2013. City-level response is integral in the fight against climate change and cities that engaged in the Earth Hour City Challenge are leading the way in policy implementation.


  • Barbara Evaeus

    Manager Climate Communications

    WWF Sweden

    +46 8 624 7448

  • Carina Borgstrom Hansson

    Footprint expert

    WWF Sweden

    +46 708 855 185

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