Going beyond Earth Hour – Energy and costs can be saved everyday!
Earth Hour in Thailand this year focuses on Earth Hour City Challenge. Three Thai cities reached the final round of WWF International’s 2014 Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC), a project with the goal of enabling a change of policies to make cities greener.
When WWF Australia started Earth Hour in 2007 with a one-hour lights-off event in Sydney, nobody would have imagined that only 6 years later this would have grown into a worldwide movement. In 2013 more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide participated. The symbolic event that is celebrated towards end of March annually, encourages individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. However, the message of WWF is clear: Commitment to energy saving and energy efficiency has to go “beyond the hour” to tackle climate change. The positive thing: Saving energy does not only benefit our planet but also your wallet – since less energy means direct cost-savings in your business or household.
Just to give you an idea about the scale we are talking: IBM, member of WWF’s Climate Savers Program, has saved close to $400 million in electricity costs between 1990 and 2010, and was able to squeeze out another $43 million in energy savings during 2011. The company conserved about 378,000 megawatt hours of electricity during the year, which is about 7.4 percent of its annual consumption -- and double its goal for annual savings of 3.5 percent.
Others – like Nokia – built energy-saving directly into their products. With smaller, lighter and more convenient base station technology the company created savings of €30 million in energy costs and 145,000 tons in CO2 footprint for its customers per year.
This is in line with the findings of McKinsey study ‘from 2009 stating that energy efficiency offers a vast, low-cost energy resource for the U.S. economy. If executed at scale, a holistic approach would yield gross energy savings worth more than $1.2 trillion, well above the $520 billion needed through 2020 for upfront investment in efficiency measures (not including program costs). In plain English: Energy efficiency measures could allow the U.S. to meet the entire emissions reduction goal proposed by 2020, at a net savings to the economy.’
WWF International’s Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) is a project with the goal of mobilizing action and support from cities in the global transition towards a sustainable future powered by renewable energy. This year Thai cities participate in this challenge for the first time – with success: Only 33 cities in 14 countries were selected for the final round and 3 cities from Thailand are amongst it. The 3 cities are Khunhan municipality in Srisaket province, Muangklang municipality in Rayong province, and Nong Samrong municipality in Udon Thani province.
Coming back to Thailand:
Cities are invited to report relevant data, commitments and actions via an internationally recognized carbon reporting platform for cities, carbon 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.
Entrants will be evaluated on a variety of criteria reflecting level of ambition and overall commitment to low carbon development and increasing the use of sustainable, efficient and renewable energy solutions. Significant measures to promote attractive one planet lifestyle and increasing public participation in this transition will also be rewarded.
The Thai three finalists will be presented to the public as candidates for the People's Choice Award. The international jury will also recognize one city in each participating country as a national Earth Hour Capital, and then award one of these cities the Global Earth Hour Capital.
“The 3 Thai municipalities in the final round of the EHCC demonstrate that many of our cities have effective policies with a positive, measurable effect in reducing global warming. This is an excellent example of sustainable development under local leadership. We want to see all cities and its citizens participate in helping to build a sustainable future for all of Earth’s citizens,” said Khun Nongpal Chancharoen, Earth Hour City Change WWF-Thailand coordinator.
While this year, WWF Thailand is mainly working with cities for Earth Hour, next year we would like to also see companies becoming active in this movement – as they already do in many other countries. There. If you are interested to join Earth Hour 2015 you’re your company, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WWF encourages everyone to show support to all cities that are trying to set sustainable development policies in place. By participating in the “We Love Cities” vote, representatives of the winning city out of 33 will get to fly to Canada to pick up their prize.
• Vote at http://www.welovecities.org/
• Submit your ideas on sustainable development at http://www.welovecities.org/
• Share videos and/or photos of your favorite city point of view through Instagram or give your suggestions through Twitter by using #WELOVE followed by the city name. For example,
- Khunhan municipality, Srisaket province #welovekhunhan
- Muang Klang municipality, Rayong province #welovemuangklang
- Nong Samrong municipality, Udon Thani province #welovenongsamrong