Cities go dark to mark Earth Hour
The campaign began last year in Australia and traveled this year from the South Pacific to Europe in cadence with the setting of the sun.
"What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."
Earth Hour officials hoped 100 million people would turn off their nonessential lights and electronic goods for the hour. Electricity plants produce greenhouse gases that fuel climate change.
Lights also went out at the famed Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok,Thailand; shopping and cultural centers in Manila, Philippines; several castles in Sweden and Denmark; the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary; a string of landmarks in Warsaw, Poland; and both London City
Hall and Canterbury Cathedral in England.
Internet search engine Google lent its support to Earth Hour by blackening its normally white home page and challenging visitors: "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn."
Twenty-three major cities worldwide, along with 300 smaller cities, took part in Earth Hour, a campaign by environmental group WWF to highlight the need to conserve energy and fight global warming.
The number of participants was not immediately available, but organizers were hoping to beat last year's debut, when 2.2 million people and more than 2,000 businesses shut off lights and appliances, resulting in a 10.2 percent reduction in carbon emissions during that hour.
WWF Thailand said the lights out campaign in Bangkok saved 73.34 megawatts of electricity, which would have produced 45.8 tons of carbon dioxide.
In Manila, the grounds of the seaside Cultural Center of the Philippines went dark after four city mayors ceremonially switched off the lights.
Shopping malls turned off street lamps around the metropolis.
After Asia, lights were expected to go out in major European and North American cites as the clock ticks on. One of the last to participate will be San Francisco, California, home to the soon-to-be dimmed Golden Gate Bridge.