10 April 2015, Seoul, South Korea – The city of Seoul has been awarded the title Global Earth Hour Capital 2015. Seoul impressed an international jury of experts with its comprehensive approach to tackling climate change and its determination to ramp up use of renewable energy.

The city’s approach to radically reducing emissions includes actions such as allocating a realistic budget for increasing the use of solar power by residents, reducing transport emissions through greener fuels, and building more bus lanes and car sharing programs.

Seoul serves as a role model for fast-growing cities in a rapidly developing Southeast Asia, as well as for the rest of the world. An ambitious initiative by the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons and to achieve 20 per cent electricity self-reliance by 2020 won high acclaim by the jury.

“There are no limits to the challenges we face in combating climate change and preserving the world’s natural systems and resources. Cities play an important role in setting the world on a sustainable development track powered by renewable energy, and Seoul is an inspiring example of a city that takes this challenge seriously,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

Seoul was recognized with a special mention in last year’s Earth Hour City Challenge and this year succeeds previous winners of the award Vancouver, Canada and Cape Town, South Africa.

The scalability of Seoul’s actions highlights the potential and importance of moving from model projects to large scale implementation. The progress being made by cities like Seoul should serve as examples for national leaders when they convene later this year for global climate negotiations in Paris.

WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge saw participation from 163 cities representing 16 countries. Cities were evaluated by their level of ambition and innovation for low carbon development in relation to local circumstances.

The EHCC jury selected Seoul as the Global Earth Hour Capital after a shortlist and final review of the 16 national winners. National Earth Hour Capitals included Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Córdoba, Spain; Evanston, USA; Gothenburg, Sweden; Hatyai, Thailand; Jakarta, Indonesia; Lahti, Finland; Montería, Colombia; Paris, France; Petaling Jaya, Malaysia; Puebla, Mexico; City of Singapore, Singapore; Thane, India; Tshwane, South Africa and Vancouver, Canada.

“Seoul, a rising megacity in Asia and a recognized leader in local climate action, is a worthy winner of the Earth Hour City Challenge. The city consistently reports progress in achieving its climate targets and demonstrates that it has drastically cut its emissions. In doing so, they have demonstrated how cities are indispensable actors in fighting global climate change,” said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General. 

WWF worked closely with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability in mobilizing cities to join the challenge. ICLEI provided the use of its carbonn Climate Registry (cCR) as the reporting platform for the initiative. The Swedish Postcode Lottery is the main financial partner.

As part of the Earth Hour City Challenge, the city of Balikpapan, Indonesia was recognized as the Most Loveable City for 2015.

Balikpapan was one of 47 green city finalists selected through the social media platform We Love Cities. More than 200,000 people who truly love their cities and want to see them become more sustainable voted in the contest.

The We Love Cities campaign engaged citizens around the word to express their love through votes, tweets, Instagram pictures and by submitting suggestions on how their cities can be more sustainable. These improvement suggestions will be shared with the participating cities.




Notes to Editors

Earth Hour City Challenge Jury

-          Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

-          Martha Delgado , General Director of the Secretariat of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate

-          Pankaj Bhatia, Deputy Director, Climate Program, World Resources Institute

-          Simon Giles, Senior Principal, Intelligent Cities Accenture Global, Accenture

-          Dan Hoornweg , Professor and Jeff Boyce Research Chair , Faculty of Energy Systems and Engineering , University of Ontario Institute of Technology

-          José Manuel Moreno Rodriguez, VP Group ll of IPCC, Catedratico de Ecologia/Professor of Ecology, Director Department of Environmental Sciences Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

-          Aromar Revi , Director , Indian Institute of Human Settlements

-          Harald Winkler, Director of the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town

-          Alexandre Meira da Rosa , Manager of Infrastructure and Environment Sector , Inter- American Development Bank

-          Aisa Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General, UN Habitat

-          Adrian Rimmer, CEO, Gold Standard Foundation

-          Gil- Hong Kim, Director, Sustainable Infrastructure Division , Asian Development Bank,

-          Seth Schulz , Director of Research, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group


For more information, please contact:

Barbara Evaeus, Global Communications Manager Earth Hour City Challenge, WWF

Tel: +46 70 393 9030, Email: barbara.evaeus@wwf.se


Carina Borgström-Hansson, PhD, Lead, Earth Hour City Challenge, WWF

Tel: +46 708 855 185, Email: Carina.Borgstrom-Hansson@wwf.se

www.panda.org/ehcc or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @EHcitychallenge

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

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