This marks the third year that WWF is recognizing cities for helping build a sustainable and safe energy future. An expert jury will now review the actions and commitments reported by these cities and identify one sustainability leader per country for the National Earth Hour Capital Awards to be presented on 9 April in Seoul, South Korea.
"Cities are leading the way toward a fair, climate-resilient future. While national governments have largely talked about solutions, real changes are being created everyday from the solar streetlamps to the clean transit systems of the world's cities," said Carina Borgström-Hansson, Lead for WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge.
The Earth Hour City Challenge works to mobilize action and support from cities in the global transition toward a sustainable future powered by renewable energy. WWF is convinced that these cities can act as a source of inspiration for countries as they refine their positions for the climate negotiations set to take place in Paris in December.
We Love Cities
WWF encourages people all over the world to show their support for the impressive efforts that cities are making toward sustainability, and to participate in the We Love Cities campaign beginning today. For the next eight weeks, web visitors are invited to vote for their favorites among the finalist cities, and to share what they love about these cities via photos and videos. The public is also welcome to submit suggestions for how the cities can become even more sustainable.
"Cities are innovation hotspots that are creating solutions to put the world on track for a climate-safe future. To help them succeed, we urgently need supporting action from policy-makers, businesses and financial institutions that are prepared to slam the door on fossil fuels and open it fully for a renewable future," said Borgström-Hansson.
WWF works closely with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability in mobilizing cities to join the challenge and enabling their reporting through carbonn Climate Registry (cCR).
"Cities are constantly finding new ways to tackle climate change and scale up their climate actions. Many of these actions are already showcased on ICLEI's carbonn Climate Registry," says Gino Van Begin. "Through our partnership with WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge, more cities have been inspired to set ambitious climate targets, report against these targets, and provide an excellent example of what is possible not only for other cities, but also for the global climate community. "
Last year's global winner was Cape Town, South Africa, recognized for demonstrating how low-carbon development and climate change mitigation can be accomplished while simultaneously addressing other development priorities. Special mention went to Chicago, Copenhagen, Seoul and Stockholm for ambitious, innovative and comprehensive climate strategies and action plans.
This year's finalists represent 16 participating countries and were selected from a total of 163 entrants. The following 44 cities have all exhibited an impressive dedication to the creation of sustainable cities, and are clear contenders for the title Earth Hour Capital 2015:
Brazil: Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo
Canada: Edmonton, North Vancouver, Vancouver
Colombia: Bucaramanga, Monteria, Santiago de Cali
Finland: Espoo, Lahti, Tampere
France: Besançon, Nantes, Paris
India: Pune, Rajkot, Thane
Indonesia: Balikpapan, Jakarta, Semarang
Malaysia: Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam
Mexico: Puebla, Hermosillo, Toluca
South Africa: Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane
South Korea: Changwon, Seoul, Wonju
Spain: A Coruña, Córdoba
Sweden: Eskilstuna, Gothenburg, Västerås
Thailand: Hatyai, Khon Kaen, Mapammarit
United States: Cleveland, Evanston, Seattle