State landmarks to go dark tonight for ‘Earth Hour’

Millions expected to take part in global environmental campaign

Shanghai’s skyscrapers Shanghai World Financial Center (L), Shanghai Tower (R) and Jin Mao Tower (top) are seen at the financial district of Pudong during Earth Hour in Shanghai  today. Photograph: Carlos Barria /Reuters

Shanghai’s skyscrapers Shanghai World Financial Center (L), Shanghai Tower (R) and Jin Mao Tower (top) are seen at the financial district of Pudong during Earth Hour in Shanghai today. Photograph: Carlos Barria /Reuters

 

Lights will be switched off at several landmark sites across the State at 8.30pm tonight as part of the global environmental initiative Earth Hour.

Millions of people in over 150 countries are expected to turn off their lights for one hour tonight as part of World Wildlife Fund campaign to highlight the need to tackle climate change.

Among the State buildings at which lights will be switched off are Leinster House, the Custom House, the Rock of Cashel, Trim Castle, Ross Castle and Ennis Friary.

Across the world many iconic landmarks will go dark including Sydney Harbour Bridge, Christ the redeemer statue and the Eiffel Tower.

Last year Earth Hour saw over 7,000 towns and cities across 154 countries take part including landmarks such as the Las Vegas Strip, the Kremlin, New York’s Times Square, Sydney Opera House, Beijing’s Bird Nest stadium, Niagara Falls and the Eiffel Tower.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan urged people to support the “powerful symbolic initiative by turning out the lights from half past eight to half past nine on Saturday night”.

People are asked to show support by switching off non-essential lighting between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Saturday night.

“The extent to which the Earth Hour idea has spread across the globe shows the degree of worldwide concern for our environment,” he said in a statement.

Now in its eighth year, the mass participation event comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to launch its latest report in Japan on Monday, outlining how global warming will affect wildlife, food supplies, water and the weather.

“It’s fortuitous timing that as millions of people take part in WWF’s Earth Hour, the world’s leading scientists release the latest IPCC report, which highlights the various impacts of climate change,” said Colin Butfield, director of public engagement and campaigns at WWF-UK

. “The significance of these two events is massive. Climate change is the biggest environmental threat facing our planet – it’s real, it’s happening right now, and we need to act fast.”

More information on Earth Hour can be found on earthhour.org.

Additional reporting Guardian