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World Wildlife Fund names Vancouver 2013 global Earth Hour capital

Earth hour hasn’t even happened yet this year, but Vancouverites can already pat themselves on the back for being the greenest city.

The World Wildlife Fund named Vancouver the global Earth Hour capital at an awards ceremony in Malmo, Sweden on Tuesday.

The award goes to a city that takes innovative, participatory and ambitious initiatives to combat climate change, according to the criteria.

Vancouver beat 16 other finalists, including Surrey, New Delhi, San Francisco and Oslo, for the green bragging rights.

“Being named the WWF’s Global Earth Hour Capital is an exceptional honour for Vancouver and more international validation of our comprehensive efforts to be the world’s greenest city,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement.

“Even as national governments fail to act, it’s essential that cities continue to lead the way in confronting climate change, and Vancouver’s progress demonstrates that building a greener city also fosters a stronger local economy.”

As an added feather in its cap, Vancouver also won the people’s choice award with the most votes out of the 17 finalists.

City council has created just about every strategy imaginable to try to make the city a more sustainable place.

Its greenest city plan promotes carbon neutral buildings and green jobs; its food strategy pushes for local food production and urban gardens; its transportation plan strives to make the city friendlier for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users; and it’s in the process of making an urban forestry strategy.

Council has also been a vocal opponent of proposed coal export increases in the Lower Mainland.

Last year during Earth Hour, British Columbians turned off the equivalent of 9 million 12.5-watt LED light bulbs, according to BC Hydro.

Despite Vancouver’s top honours on the world stage, it didn’t save nearly as much electricity as other B.C. municipalities last year.

It ranked 52nd in the province with 2.1 per cent energy savings. Revelstoke topped the list with 12.1 per cent consumption reduction.

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