This is Part 22 of a series of blog posts leading up to the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22. The full series is available here.
No time for a long post because my attention is elsewhere, but the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies campaign is certainly deserving of a quick post. However, today there was a Twitter Storm of pressure organized by a number of activists including– Avaaz.org, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org. The result was quite outstanding with the Hashtag and other events in Rio and around the world drawing significant attention.
Climate and anti-poverty activists have launched a 24-hour “Twitter storm” against the hundreds of billions of dollars of government subsidies paid each year to the petroleum and coal industry, despite the global economic downturn and the rise in emissions. The blitz, which has been supported by Stephen Fry, Robert Redford, actor Mark Ruffalo, politicians and environmentalists, took the hash tag #endfossilfuelsubsidies up to number two in the ranking of globally trending topics and number one in the US.
Jamie Henn, the Co-Founder of 350.org, has also cataloged the successes of the campaign at Huffington Post, writing:
Engineering the Twitterstorm took days of advanced planning. 350.org recruited over 5,000 people to join a core “Twitter Team” designed to drive traffic at key moments throughout the day, as well as target celebrities with large twitter followings and key politicians. For over a week, people have been signing up at endfossilfuelsubsidies.org to get updates on the storm and get ready for the day of action. All of these pieces may just be enough to break the world record for the most tweets of a single hashtag in a 24-hour period. Justin Bieber currently holds the world record with 322,224, over 223 tweets a minute.
Any outcome on this issue is a clear sign of the effect that global civil society, armed with mobile communications technology, can have on global environmental politics. To see how big that impact can be, retweet the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies and see what happens.