World cities go dark as global Earth Hour climate campaign kicks off

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(AFP) – The Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower and Moscow’s Red Square were among the world landmarks to go dark Saturday, as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change.

Earth Hour, which started in Australia in 2007, is being observed by millions of supporters in 187 countries, who are turning off their lights at 8.30pm local time in what organisers describe as the world’s “largest grassroots movement for climate change”.

“It aims to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and wildlife,” Earth Hour organiser WWF Australia chief Dermot O’Gorman told AFP.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower plunged into darkness as President Emmanuel Macron urged people to join in and “show you are willing to join the fight for nature”.

“The time for denial is long past. We are losing not only our battle against climate change, but also our battle against the collapse of biodiversity,” he said on Twitter.

Moscow’s Red Square also fell dark and the Russian section of the International Space Station dipped its lights, the Ria Novisti news agency said.

Images from across Asia showed buildings including Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, as well as the famous harbour skylines of Hong Kong and Singapore, blacking out to mark the occasion.

Other global landmarks that will take part include New York’s Empire State Building.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the event “comes at a time of huge pressure on people and planet alike”.

“Resources and ecosystems across the world are under assault. Earth hour is an opportunity to show our resolve to change.”

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