Landmarks across the world go dark to celebrate major environmental outcomes for Earth Hour

From the Sydney Opera House to Table Mountain, The Petronas Towers to The Brandenburg Gate, and The Tokyo Tower to The Empire State Building - a long list of the most recognisable icons across the globe will be participating in Earth Hour 2013 this Saturday March 23 at 8:30PM, as the world’s largest movement for the planet celebrates the environmental outcomes generated by its participants around the world.

Millions Across the Globe to “Go Dark” for Earth Hour on March 23; San Francisco named 2013 U.S. Earth Hour City Capital

This Saturday (23 March 2013), front porches, businesses, town halls and iconic landmarks across America and around the world will go dark as non-essential lights are switched off for one hour in celebration of the world’s largest voluntary environmental action.  “In addition to raising global awareness, we are also transforming that excitement into local action to prepare our communities for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change,” says Keya Chatterjee, director of international climate policy for WWF.  San Francisco is the 2013 U.S. Earth Hour City Capital, having been selected from a group of 29 U.S. cities participating in WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge – an annual initiative recognizing cities preparing for increasingly extreme weather and promoting renewable energy.  San Francisco, along with Chicago and Cleveland, will receive WWF’s Earth Hour Climate Leaders Award and $30,000 to support their efforts to engage residents in local climate action.

Vancouver Crowned Global Earth Hour Capital 2013 "for Its Innovative Actions on Climate Change"

WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) has recognised the City of Vancouver, Canada, for its innovative actions on climate change and dedication to create a sustainable, pleasant urban environment for current and future residents.

With Rapid Warming in Northern Latitudes, Massive Shift is Underway in Growing Seasons and Vegetation

An international team of researchers has found that rapid warming in northern latitudes has resulted in a decline in temperature seasonality --  the difference between summer and winter temperatures -- which in turn has shifted growing seasons in the region.  "Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982," says NASA in a press release today (10 March 2013).  "This landscape resembles what was found 250 to 430 miles (400 to 700 kilometers) to the south in 1982,"  the agency explains.  "It's like Winnipeg, Manitoba, moving to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in only 30 years," said co-author Compton Tucker of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  "The global implications of these large shifts in a region covering a fifth of our planet cannot be understated," says Martin Sommerkorn Head of Conservation for WWF's Global Arctic Programme.

The Greatest American (Climate) Heroes

Quick, without thinking about it, answer this question: What's the most important thing that's happened in America on climate change over the past year? The tragedy of Superstorm Sandy? President Obama's State of the Union address? Sixty percent of America in the grip of a devastating drought? All fair answers. But here's mine: The leadership of American cities.

Obama Highlights Emerging Impacts of Climate Change, Calls for Energy Transformation and for Community Climate Preparedness

In his State of the Union address last night (12 February 2013), President Obama said that "for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change."  He pledged to "come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."  He said that "if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will." Lou Leonard, WWF’s head of climate change, responded: "It was encouraging to see President Obama connect the dots between extreme weather and dirty energy, and to be clear that he won't wait for Congress to act.  Cities and towns on the front lines of extreme weather can't afford more excuses from Washington."

In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama says "We will respond to the threat of climate change"

In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama said today (21 January 2013) at the Capitol in Washington, DC: "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."  Lou Leonard, head of WWF’s climate change program, is heartened by the President's statement, saying that "it is an important first step for using the power of the Presidency to spur a practical national conversation on climate change. The importance of the President regularly raising his voice on this issue cannot be overstated. But a sustained national conversation isn’t enough. The President should lay out the steps he can and will take to clean up our energy system, help communities prepare for climate disruption and encourage the rest of the world to ramp up action."

Chicago, Cincinnati, San Francisco Recognized for Citywide Efforts to Address Climate Change

Chicago, Cincinnati and San Francisco have been selected as U.S. finalists in World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour City Challenge, a year-long challenge rewarding cities that are preparing for increasingly extreme weather and promoting renewable energy. Both Chicago and Cincinnati experienced their warmest years on record in 2012.  

2012: The Year Climate Change Got Real for Americans (Video)

In the latest in his “Climate Denial Crock of the Week" video series, Peter Sinclair provides an overview of the climate extremes in 2012 that battered the U.S.  The conditions have helped shift public opinion and elevate the public debate around climate change. 

With High Hopes for the Future: Obama's Moral Imperative to Address Climate Change

"I wager," says WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts in this Huffington Post piece, "that like Lincoln, President Obama will be remembered most for what he does to address the existential threat that history has presented on his watch: the breakdown of our planet's natural systems upon which all life depends, and specifically human-caused climate change."

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