RP'S  EARTH  HOUR  SAVINGS:  611  MEGAWATT-HOURS

[PHOTO AT LEFT - EARTH HOUR IN RP: The globe in front of the SM Mall of Asia is lightly illuminated yesterday as people wave their glow sticks and mobile phones after the light was switched off as part of the second worldwide Earth Hour. AP]

MANILA, APRIL 1, 2009 (STAR) By Katherine Adraneda - Preliminary reports showed the Philippines saved some 611 megawatt-hours of electricity during the observance of Earth Hour, as it outshone the rest of the world when the planet went dark for an hour last March 28.

Information posted on the website wwf.org.ph disclosed that over 15 million Filipinos in 650 cities and towns participated in Earth Hour 2009, edging out all other countries worldwide, including Australia, where the first Earth Hour was conducted in 2007.

The website data said the Philippines was trailed by Greece with 484 cities and towns that participated, and then Australia with 309.

The Philippines’ rank in Earth Hour 2009 is proof that Filipinos can rise up to the challenge of climate change.

Information on the website likewise indicated that the 611 MWh of power saved during the 60-minute voluntary blackout was estimated to be equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for an hour.

Earth Hour’s 2009 power savings are deemed “at least 10 times more massive and effective” compared to last year, when total power savings were recorded at 80 MWh.

This year’s Earth Hour is regarded as the “largest environmental action in Philippine history.”

Specifically, Luzon registered power savings of 386 Mwh, followed by Mindanao with 150 MWh while Visayas registered power savings of 75 MWh. These figures do not include non-grid connected regions, which rely on generators for power, the website noted.

Earth Hour 2009 in the Philippines was a joint initiative of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines), Department of Energy (DOE), Green Army Network and SWITCH movement. Organizers were “jubilant” at the sheer scale and success of the Earth Hour event nationwide.

They said that the effort was boosted by broad corporate support led by sponsorships from Philips, First Gen Corp., Pilipinas Shell, Malampaya Joint Venture Partners (Shell Exploration, Chevron and PNOC), Energy Development Corp., Meralco, Ayala Land and the SM Supermalls.

Aside from business establishments and buildings and privatehouseholds in key cities and towns across the country, national landmarks such as Manila’s Rizal Shrine, Pasig’s People Power Shrine and Cebu’s Marcelo Fernan Bridge likewise plunged into “symbolic darkness” during Earth Hour.

Earth Hour this year has been transformed into the world’s first “global election” between Earth and global warming. Initially, Earth Hour 2009’s aim was to secure the participation of one billion people in 1,000 cities worldwide.

The “votes” registered during Earth Hour 2009 will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year. This meeting will determine official government policies and the commitment of nations worldwide to take action against global warming, and will replace the Kyoto Protocol set to expire in 2012. Largest emitters are expected to decide and adopt vast reductions in greenhouse gases during this conference.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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