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Lights off for WWF Earth Hour 2016

Rebecca StaudenmaierMarch 19, 2016

Famous monuments and skyscrapers in the world's major cities have gone dark to shed a light on climate change. The annual Earth Hour event is set to take place in over 7,000 cities across 24 time zones on Saturday.

Australia Sydney Opera House Earth Hour 2016
Image: Reuters/D. Gray

Cities around the world turned off their lights for an hour on Saturday as part of the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) annual Earth Hour campaign.

Millions of people have taken part in the 10th annual climate awareness-raising event, which has grown significantly since it began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.

"From one city it has now grown to over 178 countries and territories and over 7,000 cities. So we couldn't be happier about how millions of people across the world are coming together for climate action," Earth Hour's global executive director Siddarth Das told news agency AFP via telephone.

Das added that support for climate action is on the rise in the wake of the global climate talks in Paris last year. The so-called Paris Agreement seeks to limit global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, with a more ambitious target of 1.5C if possible.

More than 350 monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Taipei 101, the Empire State Building, and the Brandenburg Gate were set to go dark for 60 minutes at 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.

World celebrates Earth Hour

Cities on Australia's east coast were some of the first to turn off their lights on Saturday. Sydney's famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge, usually brightly lit, went dark for 60 minutes for the 10th year in a row.

Prior to lights going out in Singapore, hundreds of people stood in a yoga tree pose in an attempt to break a world record:

Beijing darkened its famous "Bird's Nest" national stadium, while municipal government officials announced that the city's conservation slogan would be: "Consume less, consume wisely."

Supporters around the world will turn off lights in their homes and attend local climate change events as part of the worldwide show of solidarity with Mother Nature.

rs/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)