Eiffel Tower Turns Light off to Signal Climate Risk
PARIS -- The Eiffel Tower is to turn its famous night-time illuminations off for five minutes on Thursday to help draw attention to energy consumption and the environment on the eve of the release of a U.N. report on climate change.
The 336 projectors that light up the tower at night will be switched off between 7:55 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (1855-1900 GMT), a spokeswoman for SETE, the company that operates the 19th century metal tower in central Paris said.
The Eiffel Tower's illuminations are one of the most notable features of the French capital's skyline and account for 9 percent of the 7 megawatts consumed hourly by the structure.
Earlier this week, environmental campaigners from Greenpeace hung a banner showing a giant thermometer from the Eiffel Tower to publicise the global warming issue.
A U.N. report on climate change to be released officially on Friday in Paris projects a big rise in temperatures and warns of heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels linked to greenhouse gases, released mainly by the use of fossil fuels.
The symbolic switch off is part of a campaign organised in conjunction with the Paris mayor's office to highlight the impact of energy consumption on global warming.
Illuminations on several other French monuments will also be switched off.
French grid operator RTE said there could be unexpected consequences when lights were turned back on.
"This is not an exercise without risk," an RTE spokesman said. "It could trigger an important weakness in the system but we will do our utmost to prevent a blackout." (Reporting by Muriel Boselli and Paule Bonjean)