Ban calls on world's citizens to join UN in sending a message on climate change

27 March 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged people everywhere to join the United Nations and millions of citizens around the world in sending a message to government leaders to protect the planet by switching off their lights for an hour tomorrow night.

The UN will flip off the light switch at 8:30pm at its landmark Headquarters in New York to observe “Earth Hour” on 28 March to raise awareness of climate change and mobilize nations to reach agreement on a for a new agreement later this year in Copenhagen on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.

“It promises to be the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted,” Mr. Ban said in a message marking the event.

By marking Earth Hour, people will send a message to their representatives to “seal a deal in Copenhagen” and reach a deal that will protect people and the planet,” he noted. “We need an ambitious agreement. An agreement that is fair and effective. An agreement based on sound science.”

The symbolic gesture will be observed by more than 1,000 cities and close to an estimated one billion people, who will turn off their non-essential lights for one hour starting at 8:30pm local time on Saturday.

This year, Earth Hour, which was launched two years ago in Australia by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), falls the day before 2009's first round of UN negotiations on new climate change agreement in Bonn, Germany. The talks, which are slated to wrap up on 8 April, will be the first of three sessions leading up to the Copenhagen talks in December.

“Let us use this unique opportunity to protect people and the planet. The United Nations is committed to this vision, but we need your support,” stressed Mr. Ban. “Together, we can make a difference.”

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