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Earth Hour Banner in Vietnam: "Turn off the electricity, turn on the future"
Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential light and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Earth hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008. Earth Hour 2010 will take place on March 27, 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, local time.

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour 2009 was from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, March 28, 2009. 88 countries and 4,088 cities participated in Earth Hour 2009, ten times more cities than Earth Hour 2008 had (2008 saw 400 cities participate).One billion "votes" was the stated aim for Earth Hour 2009, in the context of the pivotal 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Among the participants in 2009 was, for the first time, the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The U.N. conservatively estimates that its participation will save $102 in energy.

Reports show that the Philippinesmarker topped the Earth Hour participation as 647 cities and towns or over 15 million Filipinos were estimated to have joined in the hour-long lights-off at 8:30 - 9:30 PM local time. This was followed by Greece with 484 cities and towns participating, and Australia with 309.

attributed to the Earth Hour observed by Delhi on Saturday evening and lower temperatures caused by rainfall.

The Canadian province of Ontariomarker, excluding the city of Torontomarker, saw a decrease of 6% of electricity while Toronto saw a decrease of 15.1% (nearly doubled from 8.7% the previous year) as many businesses darkened, including the landmark CN Towermarker.

Swedish electricity operator Svenska Kraftnät recorded 2.1% decrease in power consumption from its projected figure between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The following hour, the corresponding number was 5%. This equals the consumption of approximately half a million households out of the total 4.5 million households in Swedenmarker.

According to Vietnam Electricity Company, Vietnam electricity demand fell 140,000 kWh during Earth Hour.

The Philippines was able to save 611 MWh of electricity during the time period, and is said to be equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for an hour.


2009 Participants


Participating TV channels

  • Philippines' ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation's cable news channel ANC ceased transmission during Earth Hour.
  • Malaysia's 8TV halted transmission for one hour starting from 8:30 p.m.
  • Canal 5 in Mexicomarker halted transmission for one hour in Mexico City at 8:30 p.m.
  • Cartoon Network and Magic 105.4 FM broadcast Earth Hour at 8:30 p.m. for the event.
  • The National Geographic Channel suspended regular progamming for an hour and showed how to reduce energy consumption during Earth Hour.
  • DhiTV and Villa TV halted transmission for one hour in Maldives from 8:30pm.
  • Naga City's internet radios Zone105 and X FM Naga in the Philippinesmarker participated on the Earth Hour 2009 by turning off all their equipments and going offline starting 8:30PM (GMT +8).

Earth Hour 2008

Earth Hour 2008 was held internationally on 29 March 2008 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time, marking the first anniversary of the event. With 35 countries around the world participating as official flagship cities and over 400 cities also supporting, Earth Hour 2008 was celebrated on all seven continents. Iconic landmarks all around the world turned off their non-essential lighting for Earth Hour, including the Sydney Opera Housemarker (Sydney, Australia), Empire State Buildingmarker (New York City, USA), Sears Tower (now Willis Towermarker, Chicago, USA), Golden Gate Bridgemarker (San Francisco, USA), Bank of America Plazamarker (Atlanta, USA), Space Needlemarker (Seattle, USA), Table Mountainmarker (Cape Town, South Africa), the Colosseummarker (Rome, Italy), Royal Castle (Stockholm, Sweden), London's City Hallmarker (United Kingdom), the CN Towermarker (Toronto, Canada), SM Mall of Asiamarker, SM Science Discovery Center (Manila, Philippines), Suvamarker (Fiji), Nidaros Cathedralmarker (Trondheim, Norway), The Royal Liver Buildingmarker (Liverpool, United Kingdom), Petronas Twin Towersmarker (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), KL Towermarker (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Wat Arun Buddhist Temple (Bangkok, Thailand) and the Azrieli Centermarker (Tel Aviv, Israel).

The official website for the event,, received over 6.7 million unique visitors in the week leading up to Earth Hour. Other websites took part in the event, with Google's homepage going "dark" on the day Earth Hour took place.

According to a Zogby International online survey 36 million people participated in Earth Hour 2008. The survey also showed there was a 4 percentage point increase in awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, directly after the event.

2008 Participants

Partner cities

Earth Hour 2008 included the following partner cities.

Supporting cities

Other cities and regions that also supported the event include:

Supporting universities


Before 2008, San Francisco had been running its own "Lights Out" program in October. In 2008 it was moved to March 29 to align with Australia's Earth Hour. This also happened to be the year that Earth Hour became an international event and San Francisco was asked to be a partner city in Earth Hour. Rather than have a competing event, San Francisco decided to support Earth Hour and all Lights Out efforts have now moved to supporting the international Earth Hour event. Since Earth Hour for 2008 was on a Saturday, many high schools in the Greater Toronto Area participated by turning off half the lights in classrooms during the last hour of school on Friday, March 28, 2008. Although the tagline of Earth Hour 2008 was officially, "See the difference you can make," the official radio advertisement ended with the tagline, "Dark city, bright idea."

Tel Avivmarker scheduled their Earth Hour for Thursday March 27, 2008 to avoid conflict with Sabbath. Dublin moved their Earth Hour to between 9 and 10 p.m. due to their northern geographical location.

Energy saved

According to WWF Thailand, Bangkokmarker decreased electricity usage by 73.34 megawatts, which, over one hour, is equivalent to 41.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Bangkok Post gave different figures of 165 megawatt-hours and 102 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This was noted to be significantly less than a similar campaign initiated by Bangkok's City Hall the previous year in May where 530 megawatt-hours were saved and 143 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission was cut.

In the Philippinesmarker it was noted by the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. that power consumption dropped by about 16 megawatts in Metro Manilamarker, and up to 56 megawatts in Luzonmarker island. The maximum demand drop of around 39 MW was experienced at 8:14 p.m. in Metro Manila and of around 116 MW at 8:34 p.m. in the Luzon grid..

Torontomarker saved 900 megawatt-hours of electricity. 8.7% was saved if measured against a typical March Saturday night.

Irelandmarker, as a whole, had a reduction in electricity use of about 1.5% for the evening. In the three-hour period between 18:30 and 21:30, there was a reduction of 50 megawatts, saving 150 megawatt-hours, or approximately 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This saved less than one Irish persons carbon output for an entire year.

In Dubaimarker, where external lighting on several major city landmarks was turned off and street lighting in selected areas was dimmed by 50%, the Electricity and Water Authority reported savings of 100 megawatt-hours of electricity. This represented a 2.4% reduction in demand compared to before the hour began.

The best result was from Christchurchmarker, New Zealandmarker. The city reported a drop of 13% in electricity demand. However, Transpower reported that New Zealand's power consumption during Earth Hour was 335 megawatts, higher than the 328 megawatt average of the previous two Saturdays. Melbournemarker, Australia saved 10.1% of electricity. Sydneymarker, being the city that participated both 2007 and 2008 Earth Hour, cut 8.4% electricity consumption. This is less than last year's 10.2%, however Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley made the claim that after factoring margin of error, the participation in this city is the same as last year.

The worst result was from Calgarymarker, Canadamarker. The city's power consumption actually went up 3.6% at the hour's peak electricity demand. In Calgary, however, where weather plays a large role in power consumption, the city experienced weather 12°C colder than the previous Saturday's recorded temperature.

Celebrations around the world


Earth Hour has also received free publicity from the Google corporation. From 12:00 a.m. on March 29, 2008 until the end of Earth Hour, the Google homepage in the United States, Colombia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland and the UK was turned to a black background. Their tagline is, "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn - Earth Hour." However, Google stated that for 2009 they would not turn the page black again due to the confusion it caused many users. A common misconception is that having a black background on a web page reduces the power consumption of monitors; LCD monitors use a constant amount of power regardless of which colors are shown. This is not the case for Organic LED monitors, though they are not currently in popular use.

TV channels

  • Earth Hour was covered extensively in the United States with segments on Oprah, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, CNN International, The Weather Channel and more. Several stations around the United States went live with their coverage including NBC in Atlantamarker who did an hour long Earth Hour special during the event.
  • Canadamarker's The Weather Network moved its studios outside between 8 and 9 p.m. EDT for Earth Hour, using only an LED light for the hour.
  • The Agenda with Steve Paikin on TVOntario ran its full program running only on candle light.

Earth Hour 2007

Earth Hour was held on March 31 in Sydney, Australia at 7:30 pm, local time.

Overview of Sydney in Earth Hour 2008

Measurement of reduction in electricity use

According to figures from EnergyAustralia, a local utility, mains electricity consumption for the 2007 event in Sydney was 2% lower during the Hour than would be expected given the time, weather conditions and past four years' consumption patterns. The Herald Sun equated this with "taking 48,613 cars off the road for 1 hour." Critics, most notably Columnist Andrew Bolt, labelled this as "A cut so tiny is trivial - equal to taking six cars off the road for a year". In context, the six cars equates to there being six fewer cars on the road at any given point of time in the day or night. In response to this criticism, the organisers of Earth Hour counter that "If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year." and they also note that the main goal of Earth Hour is to create awareness around climate change issues and "to express that individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better." and not about the specific energy reductions made during the hour being all that's required.

The 10.2% figure was itself challenged by David Solomon, a finance student at the University of Chicagomarker. Without citing data sources or the analytical methods he claims to have used, Solomon says he used eight years of electricity usage data to conclude that the Earth Hour-inspired drop was 6.33%, and that after other potential factors were taken into account, 2.10%, "statistically indistinguishable from zero." In some areas in the Northern Hemisphere, it will be twilight at 8 p.m., removing some of the advantages of the event.

Fairfax Media coverage

Media Watch, a television show scrutinising the press, reported on claims that Fairfax publications, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age had run misleading and even manipulated photographs of the event. The program shows Before and After photos published by the papers and provides commentary that the photos may or may not have been manipulated by overexposure or taking "before" picture 2 days early, as many businesses shut down their lights for the entire evening, precluding an accurate before and after shot comparison on the same evening.

The Australian, a competing news outlet, said that journalists at Melbourne's Age newspaper claimed they had been pressured not to write negative stories about Earth Hour because of the parent company's sponsorship arrangement. The Australian went on to say that on April 10, a statement from the journalists claimed that "Reporters were pressured not to write negative stories and story topics followed a schedule drafted by Earth Hour organisers".


The criticisms of Earth Hour include:
  • The Christian Science Monitor said that most candles are made from paraffin, a heavy hydrocarbon derived from crude oil, a fossil fuel, and that depending on how many candles a person burns (if one uses candles during Earth Hour), whether or not they normally use compact fluorescent light bulbs, and what source of energy is used to produce their electricity, in some cases, replacing light bulbs with candles will cause an increase, instead of a decrease, in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • An alternative celebration of "Human Achievement Hour" was promoted by the libertarian think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute to celebrate the advancement of human prosperity. Participants in this celebration were asked to "celebrate the achievements of humanity such as eating dinner, seeing a film, driving around, keeping the heat on in your home ".
  • The Ayn Rand Institute wrote, "Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away... Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month... Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible."
  • Although in support of Earth Hour, the "Carbon Sense Coalition" wants Earth Hour to be renamed "Blackout Night," and to be held outside on the shortest and coldest day of the year " prepare our population for the dark days ahead".
  • Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, wrote, "It is vital to make solar and other new technology cheaper than fossil fuels quickly so we can turn off carbon energy sources for a lot longer than one hour and keep the planet running... Fossil fuels literally gave us an enlightenment, by lighting our world and giving us protection from the fury of the elements. It is ironic that today's pure symbolism should hark back to a darker age."

See also


  8. Record power savings for RP in Earth Hour 2009
  15. 8TV (Malaysia)
  18. Lights on, power use up for Earth Hour. Kelly Andrew. The Dominion Post. Monday, 31 March 2008.
  22. Information about Earth Hour 2008, history, 2007 - Earth Hour 2008
  23. Age blighted by bias, selling its soul | The Australian
  24. Does lighting candles for Earth Hour defeat the purpose?, Christian Science Monitor, March 27, 2009
  27. The Real Meaning of Earth Hour, Ayn Rand Institute, March 23, 2009
  28. Turn out the lights? Not everyone's on board Earth Hour, Christian Science Monitor, March 28, 2009
  30. Hour of no power increases emissions, The Australian, March 27, 2009

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