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WWF calls for ‘lights out’ event in 2009

December 11, 2008 23:49:00
Abigail L. Ho
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Last March, thousands of global landmarks and individual households turned their lights off for an hour to support the campaign to save the planet from climate change and global warming.

On March 28, 2009, the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Earth Hour campaign will aim to gain the support of more than 1 billion people -- including some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks -- in 1,000 cities worldwide, for another "lights out" event to show global unity for policies that will counter the adverse effects of climate change.

In the run-up to the world leaders’ meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009, WWF has enlisted the support of 76 cities in 62 countries – including Moscow, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rome, Oslo, Cape Town, Warsaw, Lisbon, Singapore, Istanbul, Mexico City, Toronto, Dubai, Copenhagen and Manila – to campaign for a new global deal on climate change.

"When leaders gather in Copenhagen in December 2009 to negotiate a new deal on climate change, they must feel that the eyes of the world are upon them. Earth Hour provides an opportunity for the public to send a powerful signal that they are watching and expect action," WWF-International director general Jim Leape said in a statement on Thursday.

Here in the Philippines, the cities of Cebu, Manila, Iloilo, Baguio, Davao, San Fernando, Puerto Princesa, Legaspi and Cagayan de Oro already committed to turn their lights off for an hour starting 8:30 p.m. on March 28, 2009.

"We believe that Filipinos can unite when driven by the common good: Manny Pacquiao’s fights attest to this. The growing realization for the need to act on climate change, coupled with the success of Earth Hour Philippines last March provides us with a springboard to launch a bigger and better campaign next year," WWF-Philippines climate change and energy program head Yeb Saño said.

"On March 28, 2009, we aim to enjoin 10 million Filipinos to join the fight against climate change by simply turning off their lights," he added.

With lights going off in various parts of the country for Earth Hour last March, power consumption in Metro Manila and Luzon dropped slightly, reflecting the impact of the global climate change awareness initiative.

According to data from the Philippine Electricity Market Corp., the operator of the wholesale electricity spot market, the actual consumption in Metro Manila between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. last March 29 hit 2,675 megawatts (MW), falling short of the projected demand of 2,691 MW.

In the Luzon grid, actual consumption was just 5,644 MW, 56 MW lower than the projected 5,700-MW demand.

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.

The city governments of Quezon City, Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Caloocan and Makati, as well as non-government organizations and private businesses took part in that one-hour lights-off activity.

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