Online Twitter Campaign Urges End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies

A coalition of activists today launched a 24-hour campaign on the social media network Twitter to pressure global leaders attending the Rio+20 summit to slash fossil fuel subsidies. Beginning at 8 a.m. GMT, participants started posting messages on the social media site using the hashtag #EndFossilFuelSubsidies, a so-called “Twitterstorm” that organizers hope will call attention to the issue at the global summit in Brazil. By mid-morning the hashtag was the leading trend on Twitter. The campaign comes as a new report from Oil Change International estimates that fossil fuel industries receive as much as $1 trillion in direct or indirect support from governments annually. “This world has a few problems where a trillion dollars might come in handy — and we’d have a few less problems if we weren’t paying the fossil fuel industry to wreck the climate,” said Bill McKibben, founder of, one of the groups organizing the Twitter campaign. While some countries have pushed for eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, the current draft of the Rio+20 agreement includes no such commitments.