Earth Hour: European citizens unite for climate action as leaders trail behind

Posted on 17 March 2016    
Citizens show their support for WWF's Earth Hour
© WWF Albania
As millions of citizens in Europe and beyond call for climate change action around WWF’s Earth Hour this week, their elected leaders are shying away from higher ambition.

Three months after the historic Paris climate deal, Earth Hour 2016 this Saturday 19 March will see millions of people calling on leaders to “change climate change”.
However, in their conclusions on the Paris climate agreement, EU heads of state and government at their meeting this week are likely to reiterate their earlier position on 2030 climate and energy targets.

This is despite the fact that keeping temperatures “well under 2degC” and working for 1.5degC, as the agreement says, means going beyond the current EU targets of 40% emissions cuts by 2030 and 80-95% by 2050.

“Earth Hour shows that people’s support for climate change action is stronger than ever. EU heads of state are failing their citizens if they do not push for higher climate ambition following the Paris Agreement and reap the benefits that ambition brings,” said Geneviève Pons, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office.

Alongside thousands of Earth Hour actions from households and businesses around the world, EU institutions and many politicians are supporting Earth Hour 2016 by turning off their lights.

“[Following Paris] we now have a plan which binds us all, which can limit climate change and ensure the survival of our species. But the real work starts now. That is why it is so important […] to remind leaders to remain ambitious in implementing the Paris Agreement. How? Switch on your social power and switch off the lights. Let your friends and followers know you support Earth Hour,” said European Commission Vice-President Šefčovič.

“We thank the European Commission and Parliament for their support for Earth Hour and hope this will be reflected by strong and meaningful climate and energy proposals in the coming months”, added Pons.
More on Earth Hour

Note to the editor:

Uniting millions around the world for climate action, Earth Hour (#changeclimatechange and @EarthHour) – now in its tenth year - is testament to our power to impact our climate, our planet. This year’s theme is ‘This Earth Hour, Help Shine a Light on Climate Action’.

In 2016, actions are foreseen across an unprecedented 178 countries and territories on Saturday, 19 March 2016 at 8:30 p.m. local time, with lights being turned off by individuals, organisations and governments and at inconic landmarks including the Empire State Building, Taipei 101 and the Sydney Opera House.
Citizens show their support for WWF's Earth Hour
© WWF Albania Enlarge