WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge takes flight as cities aim to create climate friendly lifestyles for urban dwellers

Posted on 30 April 2013

WWF urges UNFCCC delegates in Bonn to recognize and gain inspiration from the key role cities are playing in the transformation toward a sustainable, 100% renewable energy future.
Gland: As the UNFCCC working group tasked to discuss the scope, structure and design of the new 2015 global climate agreement convenes in Bonn this week, WWF urges delegates to recognize and gain inspiration from the key role cities are playing in the transformation toward a sustainable, 100% renewable energy future.

WWF invites cities in 15 countries to participate in the internationally acclaimed Earth Hour City Challenge 2014.

"The UN climate change negotiation process is currently seeking inputs and support from all sectors of society and from all levels of government in order to fertilize the ground for an effective 2015 global agreement and to significantly step up climate change action before the entry into force of that agreement, says Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

We can all be inspired by what many cities are doing to curb emissions and adapt to climate change. It is essential that these shining examples be better known so that people working in the international, national and business arenas recognize the possibilities and are stimulated to do more – and faster – to respond to the climate challenge."

Although urban dwellers currently account for over 70% of global CO2 emissions, cities also have the potential to create conditions for climate smart and sustainable lifestyles, allowing the world’s population to live well within the boundaries of our one and only planet.

WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge was designed to highlight and reward cities that are prepared to make substantial long-term efforts to combat global warming. WWFs goal is to mobilize action and support from cities in the global transition towards 100% renewable energy.

“The world needs immediate and ambitious climate action on all possible levels if we are to avoid the risks inherent in increasing global temperatures,” says Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International. “A global, binding climate agreement is essential, but cities also can and are playing a crucial role in getting on with the task of reducing emissions.”

In 2013, 66 cities from Canada, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the USA participated in the first international Earth Hour City Challenge by reporting their commitments, performance, completed or ongoing actions, as well as climate action plans. In March, six cities (Vancouver, New Delhi, Forli, Oslo, Uppsala, San Francisco) were selected by an expert jury* as Earth Hour Capitals in their respective countries.

The City of Vancouver was later awarded the title Global Earth Hour Capital 2013 for its outstanding holistic and strategic approach - specifically its impressive transportation strategy, solid actions on the impact of food and progressive neighborhood energy plan, to climate action during an award ceremony in Malmö, Sweden in March.

Cities in 15 countries, including six from the previous round as well as Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea and Indonesia will participate in the upcoming round of the Earth Hour City Challenge, which will be run by WWF in collaboration with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the Swedish Postcode Lottery.

“Earth Hour City Challenge has clearly demonstrated that global level of ambition can be easily raised with ambitious local leaders and actions. Now it is the responsibility of national governments to tap this potential into the new global climate regime,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, the focal point of local governments at the UNFCCC.

Cities will be asked to register their data on carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR), an internationally recognized carbon reporting platform managed by ICLEI which will be open for reporting from May – October 2013. Strategies will then be evaluated by an international jury, and in March 2014, the city with the highest overall score will be awarded the title Global Earth Hour Capital.

*Earth Hour City Challenge Jury 2013
• Gino van Begin, 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, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
• Pietro Laureano, architect and urban planner, UNESCO consultant
• Conor Riffle, Head of CDP Cities
Cyclists in downtown Vancouver
© City of Vancouver
Vancouver is awarded the title Global Earth Hour Capital 2013
© Ewa Levau