Media Release: Political parties unite to support WWF’s Earth Hour

DESPITE the Holyrood election campaign being in full swing, the leaders of each one of the Scottish Parliament’s main political parties today (Wednesday 2 March) united in support of continued action on climate change by giving their backing to WWF’s Earth Hour – which takes place on Saturday 26 March at 8:30pm. [1]

The show of political unity by Annabel Goldie MSP, Patrick Harvie MSP, Iain Gray MSP, Tavish Scott MSP and Rt Hon. Alex Salmond MSP in the run-up to the election campaign, reflects the unity of the millions across the globe who will be switching off their lights for 60 minutes – WWF’s Earth Hour – in a graphic demonstration of support for people and wildlife affected by climate change.

Over a year has passed since the Scottish Climate Change Act was agreed, and with the recent publication of the Report on Proposals and Policies (RPP) and the Public Engagement Strategy, momentum is gathering to tackle climate change here in Scotland to meet our ambitious targets to reduce emissions. WWF’s Earth Hour brings people together around a positive message about tackling climate change in Scotland.

Last year, hundreds of millions of people in 128 countries and over 400 cities switched their lights off in support of WWF’s Earth Hour.

WWF Scotland said that Earth Hour 2011 is already on course to be a record in Scotland. Already signed up are the Scottish Government, hundreds of schools, businesses and iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and Falkirk Wheel. Also, for the first time ever, every one of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have committed to supporting the global event.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said:

“Scotland has shown with its world-leading climate legislation that some nations are prepared to show leadership. It is fantastic to have all of Scotland’s political party leaders give their backing to WWF’s Earth Hour this year. Even well into the throes of an election campaign, we’re pleased to see this consensus on tackling climate change. This event promises to be the biggest show of support ever for global action on climate change.”

Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister, said:

“The SNP is delighted to support WWF’s Earth Hour. Scotland is leading the world in our action to tackle climate change and it is vital that we all continue to work together to make the small changes to our daily lives that will reduce carbon emissions. Over the last four years, Scotland has started on the road to creating the greener and healthier environment we all want to live in. The SNP will continue to press for and support action taken at a global, national, local and individual level to reduce our carbon footprint and help safeguard the planet.”

Annabel Goldie MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said:

“I will be supporting WWF’s Earth Hour again this year. It is a great reminder to people that the little things really can make a big difference. We must protect the world around us. If everybody in Scotland made just a few small changes, the environmental improvements would benefit us all. I hope more people sign up to WWF’s Earth Hour this year.”

Iain Gray MSP, Labour leader at the Scottish Parliament, said:

“I will be supporting WWF’s Earth Hour for the third year running. It was Labour at Holyrood who got the Scottish Government to increase our climate target making us world leaders. We are also committed to a green revolution in housing where our long term ambition is that by 2020 household and community renewables will be standard in new and existing houses.

But we all have a role to play and everyone can play their part by reducing their individual carbon footprint. This is why Earth Hour is such a good idea.

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said:

“No matter how difficult the economic circumstances, it’s vital to remember that action to tackle climate change can reduce household bills, boost jobs, and improve our quality of life. Marking WWF’s Earth Hour every year helps us all remember that there are opportunities to be taken on transport, energy, and across our economy. If we act urgently, Scots will see the benefits here at home as well as playing a crucial role in living up to our international responsibilities.”

Tavish Scott MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said:

“Thinking globally while acting locally is a good way to challenge climate change. Across Scotland we can play our part in tackling it. So I support WWF’s Earth Hour and hope this campaign will raise awareness of the effects that climate change has on our world. It matters that much.”


For further information, please contact:

Mandy Carter, t: 01350 728200, m: 07771 818677

Editor’s notes

[1] WWF’s Earth Hour – 8.30pm, Saturday 26 March 2011 For more information about WWF’s Earth Hour

WWF’s Earth Hour lights-out initiative began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as an awareness-raising exercise. By 2009 3,000 cities and towns in more than 80 countries got involved with lights going out in 66 national capitals and nine of the ten most populated metropolises on the planet. Over 800 of the world’s most iconic landmarks also went dark last year including the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids of Giza. Here in Scotland, 19 local authorities, 200 schools and over one hundred businesses and organisations joined in by switching their lights off for one hour in a graphic demonstration of support for determined international action on climate change. Some of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks went dark including Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow’s Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge) and the Scottish Parliament.

[2] MSPs in the Scottish Parliament are signing up to the following motion:

S3M-7713 Earth Hour 2011

That the Parliament supports WWF’s Earth Hour 2011, which is scheduled to take place at 8.30 pm on 26 March 2011, and what it hopes will be the thousands of people across Scotland joining hundreds of millions across the globe in switching off their lights for 60 minutes to demonstrate support for tackling climate change; considers the implementation of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 to be a priority for the Scottish Government; welcomes the publication of Low Carbon Scotland: The Draft Report on Proposals and Policies by the Scottish Government and calls on it to ensure that policies are in place to enable Scotland to meet its annual emissions reduction target and its target of achieving a 42 per cent reduction in overall emissions by 2020; considers that the benefits of tackling climate change will be better homes, healthier lifestyles, a much-improved public transport system and a fairer Scotland; welcomes the investment, skills and job opportunities in moving toward a low-carbon future, and calls on countries around the world to sign up to a fair, ambitious and binding global deal on climate change at the UN climate talks in December 2011.

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Contact: Mandy Carter
Phone: 01350 728200