made me think | a twitter storm against fossil fuel subsidies

on the 18th of june climate and anti-poverty activists launched a 24/hours `twitter storm` against hundreds of billions of dollars of government subsidies paid each year to the petroleum and coal industry, despite the global economic crisi and the rise in emissions.

the campaign was launched with #endfossilfuelsubsidies hastag and was supported by politicians, environmentalist and celebrities, such as stephen fry, robert redford and mark ruffalo. it reached number 2 in the ranking of globally trending topics and number one in the US.

we’re averaging a tweet a second, but it picks up when celebs hit the hashtag” said jamie henn of, a climate group that is among the leaders of the campaign.

The online demonstration came as negotiators at the Rio+20 sustainable development conference remained divided over proposals to phase out the provision of public funds to carbon dioxide polluters.Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – two big oil-producing nations – are accused of holding up progress on this issue, which will be high on the agenda of leaders who attend the Rio Earth summit later this week and the upcoming G20 in Mexico.

activists with, friends of the earth, and delivered a petition of more than 750,000 signatures calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies to 10 downing street. similar petitions will be presented in other nations.

international energy agency figures show that government subsidies for fossil fuels are 12 times greater than those for renewable energy. jake schmidt, of the natural resources defense council, wrote in his blog: “given tight budget times and the need to address global warming, subsidising activities that are heating the planet just doesn’t make sense. the only beneficiaries of fossil fuel subsidies are oil, gas and coal companies that are raking in record profits at the expense of the rest of us.

The G20 promised action to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, but a new report by oil change international: phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in the G20: a progress update, suggests they have not yet eliminated any because the definition of “inefficient” is vague.

gro harlem brundtland, one of the architects of global sustainable governance, said she was hopeful that Rio+20 could produce a clear commitment to act on this problem. she said: “it is outrageous that this is happening still. it was clear 20 years ago that it had to stop. but it continues still. it will mean changing the tax system. you can’t take from poor. but the point is that most of these subsidies go to the rich not the poor. so if we can change the incentive system so poor people are given the same opportunities without polluting environment then we can change this wrong-footed way of inspiring development.”

what it is interesting about this story for is that a bottom up approach can make problem stand out form the crowd and become more visible, so that actionform interested parties is requested. it is also important to see that the participation of visible, popular individuals is central on the success of a campaign. in the case of a worldwide action as the #endfossilfuelsubsidies campaign would mean robert redford, in the case of a local action campaig in de montfort university may mean active social media users in the university, as the vc or popular academic or students.

{ via the guardian }



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