Cape Town named Earth Hour capital

2014-02-05 11:32
Cape Town has been named as the Earth Hour Challenge capital city. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cape Town has been named as the Earth Hour Challenge capital city. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Environmentalists have named Cape Town as the capital city as part of the global push to wean civilisation from fossil fuels.

The Earth Hour Challenge, part of the annual Earth Hour symbolic gesture to raise awareness of the impact of fossil fuel on the environment, is a partnership between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI).

"We are exceptionally proud of Cape Town's contribution to building a sustainable future that both protects the environment and improves the lives of citizens of South Africa," said WWF South Africa CEO Morné du Plessis.

Cape Town is one of 33 cities competing for the title which will be awarded in Vancouver this year.

Earth Hour 2014 will be celebrated on 29 March and the WWF and other organisations have asked the public to switch off electricity consuming devices for an hour.


The event strives to highlight our dependence on fossil fuel and lobbies governments and industry to reduce reliance on coal and nuclear power generation in favour of renewables like wind and solar power.

The Medupi and Kusile coal power stations in SA have come under heavy criticism because the projects are projected to be the most polluting power stations in the Southern Hemisphere.

"While South Africa's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) remains stuck in an old paradigm of bulkiness and capital intensity, greater effort should be made to reduce demand, avoid as far as possible the building of too many complex power stations and focus on more modular and rapidly deployable solutions such as renewables," said Saliem Fakir, Living Planet Unit head at the WWF.

"It is time for the government and Eskom to rethink the entire electricity paradigm, and begin the just transition away from coal and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.  This is the only sustainable path towards ensuring electricity access for all South Africans," Greenpeace Africa added.

While climate scepticism is a popular topic in fringe political groups, the evidence points to irreversible climate change with devastating impacts for poor communities if no action is taken.

"No doubt, Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity. Environmental and climatic stress also raises existing inequalities between rich and poor," Stellenbosch University Professor Oliver C Ruppel told News24 recently.

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Read more on:    wwf  |  cape town  |  environment

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