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A storm is brewing over Rio+20


A storm is brewing over Rio+20

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Campaigning organizations from around the world will join forces on June 18 for a 24-hour ‘Twitter storm’ in which tens of thousands of messages will be posted on the social networking site demanding that world leaders use Rio+20 to agree to end fossil fuel subsidies.

The 24 hour clock will start on June 18 at 8pm New Zealand time, when activists the world over will begin to flood Twitter with messages that will also be projected in iconic spots in Sydney, New Delhi, London, Rio, and other locations.

“Our goal is to deliver a deluge of messages to world leaders around ending fossil fuel subsidies so they know we demand action—and if we get enough support, we might even hit the Guinness World Record for the most widespread social network message in 24 hours” says Aaron Packard, 350.org Oceania Co-ordinator.

In recent weeks campaigning groups around the world have collected close to 1 million signatures demanding that leaders act now to end fossil fuel subsidies and to invest in renewable energy solutions. (1) They will be presenting this petition to G20 world leaders and this will also be accompanied by a simultaneous online mobilisation through a twitter storm to further emphasise the message.

In May, leaders of the G20 pledged again to eliminate ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies. They first made the commitment in 2009 but have yet to implement the policy change at the country level.

In 2011 the New Zealand Government took a positive step and spearheaded the launch of the global “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform” to encourage the removal of the estimated $1 trillion dollars that countries (2) around the world are spending annually on fossil fuel subsidies.

“It’s great they have taken this step” says Mr. Packard “but there’s a bit of irony too in that in the last two years the New Zealand government also spent NZ $25 million identifying for off-shore oil companies where to drill for oil in our oceans and are offering them tax-free profits until 2014 – I’d say those are subsidies too”.

The International Energy Agency estimates that by cutting fossil fuel subsidies, the world could achieve half the required emission reductions to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees celsius temperature increase, the number most scientists say we need to stay under to prevent runaway climate change. (3)

“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” said Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

To take part in this twitter storm people are encouraged to post tweets with the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies for 24-hours from 8pm on June 18. Visit endfossilfuelsubsidies.org for more information on this campaign.

Participating organizations include 350.org, Avaaz, Greenpeace, WWF, Oil Change International, Natural Resources Defense Council, and others.


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