Australia's Sydney darkens for tenth Earth Hour

March 19, 2016
Australia's iconic landmark Sydney Opera House during the annual Earth Hour on March 23, 2013
Australia's iconic landmark Sydney Opera House during the annual Earth Hour on March 23, 2013

Australia's iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge went dark on Saturday night, as the Earth Hour campaign to switch off lights to call for action on climate change began rolling out across the planet, organisers said.

Millions of people from 178 countries and territories are expected to take part in WWF's Earth Hour this year, with monuments and buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, Taipei 101 and the Empire State Building plunging into darkness for 60 minutes from 8:30pm local time.

In Sydney, where the Earth Hour idea originated in 2007, many harbourside buildings fell dark as the city switched off for the tenth year in a row.

"We just saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge switch its lights off... and buildings around as well," Earth Hour's Australia manager Sam Webb told AFP from The Rocks area.

Earth Hour's global executive director Siddarth Das said organisers were excited about how much the movement had grown since it began in Sydney in 2007.

"From one city it has now grown to over 178 countries and territories and over 7,000 cities so we couldn't be happier about how millions of people across the world are coming together for climate action," he told AFP via telephone from Singapore ahead of the lights out.

Das said momentum towards climate action was building in the wake of the global climate talks in Paris last year.

The so-called Paris Agreement sets the goal of limiting global warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, with a more ambitious target of 1.5 C if possible.

Das said people were experiencing the impact of climate change more now than when Earth Hour began, adding that "climate change has now become a more personal topic".

"Noone is denying the fact that the world is at a climate crossroads, but while we are seeing more and more impacts of climate change we are also witnessing a completely new momentum in climate action that is transcending borders and generations," he said.

"I feel that there's a renewed vigour among individuals and governments to come together for strong climate action and to fight ."

Das said Earth Hour organisers did not collect global statistics on the energy conserved during the 60-minute blackout and that the event has always had symbolic intent, saying it was more a moment of global solidarity about a global problem.

Explore further: Lights out in Australia as Earth Hour kicks off

Related Stories

Lights out in Australia as Earth Hour kicks off

March 28, 2015

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails on the nearby Opera House went dark Saturday, as lights on landmarks around Australia were switched off for the global climate change awareness campaign Earth Hour.

Sydney switches off for Earth Hour

March 29, 2014

Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge plunged into darkness Saturday for the Earth Hour environmental campaign, among the first landmarks around the world to dim their lights for the event.

World urged to use 'Earth Hour' to protect planet

March 26, 2011

From Sydney to Seoul, London to Lima, and Dubai to Davis Station in frozen Antarctica, hundreds of millions of people are expected to switch off their lights on Saturday to mark "Earth Hour".

Space the latest frontier for Earth Hour

March 31, 2012

Millions of people are expected to switch off their lights for Earth Hour Saturday in a global effort to raise awareness about climate change that will even be monitored from space.

Billion people invited to switch off lights

March 26, 2009

Around a billion people living in the world's major cities are being invited to turn off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday for "Earth Hour," described as the biggest mass campaign to demand action on climate ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.