UAE to Mark Earth Hour

DUBAI — The changing coloured lights that typically illuminate the curved white and glass façade of the Burj Al Arab will darken next Saturday when the UAE joins 84 other countries for Earth Hour, a global initiative to recognise the effects of climate change.

By Emily Meredith

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Published: Fri 20 Mar 2009, 1:35 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 8:30 PM

Representatives from several local companies, non-governmental organisations and government agencies announced the plan to switch off ‘non-essential’ lights in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Sharjah for one houron March 28th.

During last year’s earth hour, Dubai saw a 20 per cent reduction in the amount of electricity used for lighting, according to Amal Koshak of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. This is the second year Dubai has participated in Earth Hour, organised globally by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

The list of suggested adjustments customers can make — fully powering down computers, encouraging people to switch off all non-essential lights — is similar to advice the WWFgives people to reduce their demand on a daily basis.

Koshak said the 100,000kwh drop is a benchmark for this year’s earth hour, but 2008 saw a 13-15 per cent rise in electricity demand. Measuring the long-term impact on electricity demand for the one-off event is nearly impossible, she said.

Reducing energy demand is critical to staving off dramatic climate change, according to Ida Tillish of the Emirates Wildlife Society, the local arm ofthe WWF.

In the UAE, increased temperatures could cause hotter summers and raised sea levels — a threat to the coastal developments that attract both business and tourism.

In a country with the largest ecological footprint in the world — a measure of the total resources used by each person — the hour will be a nod to the impact UAE residents have.

Tillish recognised the impact of government initiatives like carbon capture and storage, environment educational campaigns and Masdar City, but said individual residents and businesses can make a large impact.

“To create a sustainable environment every individual and business needs to show that we care every day.”

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