Saudi Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai Earth Hour
Saudi Pavilion was one of dozens of pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai switching off lights for Earth Hour Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Dubai: Several pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai switched off their lights in solidarity with Earth Hour on Saturday.

Earth Hour is an iconic global movement initiated by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2007 that involves switching off all non-essential electricity for an hour to raise awareness for climate change and nature loss.

Saudi Pavilion right before Earth Hour... Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News
saudi pavilion expo earth hour
...and right after Earth Hour started Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Emirates Nature-WWF (the regional representative for WWF) said 60 pavilions participated in a symbolic switch off at intervals of one minute, for the entire duration of Earth Hour.

There was also an ‘Earth Hour Switch Off Parade’ throughout the Expo site, led by the Dubai Police Marching Band, that began at 8.30pm from Peru Pavilion in the Mobility District and ended at UK Pavilion in Opportunity District at 9.30pm.

Forefront of sustainability

In a statement sent to Gulf News after the event, Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, director-general of Emirates Nature-WWF, said: “It is apt to have carried out this year’s event at Expo 2020 Dubai as it embodies the UAE’s vision of being at the forefront of sustainable development through innovation.”

She added: “Although Expo 2020 is coming to an end [on March 31], the legacy of what has been built – the ideas, cooperation, and symbolism of the world in one place looking towards a prosperous future where people and planet collaboratively thrive – illuminates how we must move forward.

“We’ve received overwhelming support this year from corporate entities, individuals from all across the country and the youth of our nation. Their participation and involvement have supplemented our belief that we’re on the right track to truly shape our future. Our message to everyone is that this is just the beginning. It’s time to go ‘beyond the hour’ and become a true leader of change.”

Earlier, Emirates Nature-WWF launched ‘Leaders of Change’ pilot programme, where they honoured their Green Giving conservation partners “who have committed to protecting the environment, championing conservation, and preserving nature”.

Cumulative savings

Meanwhile, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which also urged everyone to turn off unnecessary lights and electric appliances in solidarity with Earth Hour, noted from 2008 up to 2021, Earth Hour-Dubai has achieved cumulative savings of up to 3.12 GWh of electricity and reduced 1,607 tonnes of carbon emissions.

In 2022, DEWA recorded savings of 329 megawatts in electricity consumption in the Emirate during Earth Hour 2022, equivalent to a reduction of 132 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission

DEWA said Dubai is the first Arab city to participate in Earth Hour, “reflecting the emirate’s keenness to raise awareness of the danger of carbon dioxide emissions to limit consumption levels and waste of resources”.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, commended residents who took part in the Earth Hour, emphasising that the goal goes beyond just turning off unnecessary lights and electric appliances for 60 minutes.

“At DEWA, we work in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy, which aims to provide 100 per cent of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. This supports the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and the follow up of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai," said Al Tayer.

"We also raise awareness among society members on the importance of conservation and highlight sustainability practices that positively impact climate action. The results achieved during Earth Hour in Dubai every year underline the key role of society members in conservation and reduction of carbon footprint. The goal of Earth Hour is to encourage society members to adopt a conscious and responsible lifestyle to support national efforts to limit carbon emissions and protect natural resources to ensure their sustainability for generations to come,”  he added.