Qatar joined the rest of the world to mark the Earth Hour, a global energy-saving event, with many of the country’s landmark buildings switching off their lights for an hour, from 8.30pm-9.30pm, yesterday.
The campaign is supported by 4,000 cities in a record 125 countries and includes 1,200 landmarks from the Forbidden City to Egypt’s Pyramids and the Las Vegas Strip.
The WWF-run event officially began when New Zealand’s Chatham Islands switched off their diesel generators to leave just 12 street lamps burning and was to end nearly 24 hours later in Samoa.
Among the organiSations that took part in the campaign in Qatar were the Qtel tower (headquarters), the Movenpick Tower & Suites, the Marriott Doha and the British embassy.
Children of British embassy staff also created a collage to mark the event.
British Ambassador John Hawkins welcomed the initiative and the efforts being made to function in an environmentally friendly and responsible way. “We were happy to support Earth Hour, not only as an embassy but as individuals with over 75% of the British embassy team taking part from their homes. We are conscious of the impact we as an embassy have on the environment and are committed to reducing carbon emissions from our operation in Qatar. We are already recycling embassy waste where possible in order to reduce our impact on the environment. We will keep looking for opportunities to do more.”
Over the last year the British embassy has taken a number of measures to make its operation more environmentally-friendly. “In addition the embassy has committed to reducing its CO2 from air travel, road vehicles, fossil fuels and grid electricity by 10% in 2010.”
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney and enjoys widespread support both from the public and big business, including Google, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.
In December, two weeks of UN talks in Copenhagen failed to produce a binding commitment to limit global warming or set out concrete plans for doing so, in a setback for the environmental movement.


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