A 24-hour “storm” against fossil fuel subsidies was launched today by 350.org, Avaaz, Greenpeace, and other environmental organizations on the popular social network site Twitter. The event is expected to involve hundreds of thousands of people from around the world who will join forces in demanding an end to subsidies to the fossil fuel industry by tweeting under the same #EndFossilFuelSubsidies hashtag.
At the same time as thousands of people are posting on Twitter the organizers will deliver a 1 million signature strong petition to world leaders, as well as projecting the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies tweets near iconic locations in Sydney, New Delhi, London, and Rio. The campaigners behind the event hopes that the Twitterstorm will flood the social network and help put pressure on politicians and delegates at Rio+20, the upcoming United Nations conference on sustainable development that is being held in Brazil in two days.
Governments around the world are spending $1.4 billion per day, or as much as $1 trillion dollars annually (PDF), to keep us all hooked on climate killing fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the world could cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half (PDF) by just ending these subsidies. Fatih Birol, chief economist of IEA, recently went as far as saying that we need to end fossil fuel subsidies “or face catastrophe.” So by just stopping these unnecessary subsidies we could go a long way in preventing a 2 degree rise in global temperatures, a temperature threshold most scientists say we need to aim for to be able to stop catastrophic climate change.
“We are giving twelve times as much in subsidies to fossil fuels as we are providing to clean energy, like wind and solar. World leaders shouldn’t be subsidizing the destruction of our planet, especially since these subsidies are cooking our planet,” said Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
And it’s not just about the climate. According to US Senator Bernie Sanders, USA could reduce its deficit by more than $40 billion over the next 10 years by just ending their subsidies to corporations such as Exxon.
The Twitterstorm has been going on for a few hours now and already it’s trending worldwide and placing itself among the top trending Twitter topics in the UK, USA, Sweden, Australia, and other countries. So it seems the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies event is off to a powerful and successful start. Hopefully people can keep the momentum up for the remaining hours so that the social media event can contribute in a meaningful way to end the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
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