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'Twitter Storm' Calls for End to $1 Trillion in Public Subsidies for Dirty Fossil Fuels

Campaign goes viral, makes subsidy debate highest trend on social network

Common Dreams staff

An online 'twitter storm' initated by environmental groups and designed to coincide with the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil this week went viral Monday with nearly a million people signing a petition calling for the end of public subsidies to the fossil fuel industry that total more than a trillion dollars a year.

Bill McKibben, founder of who spearheaded the campaign, tweeted, “$1 trilllion is a lot of money--tired of the fossil fuel industry laughing at us, so joining the twitterstorm #endfossilfuelsubsidies.”

The EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, who is expected to play a key role at the Rio+20 negotiations, tweeted, “Fossil fuels subsidies have no place in today's world. They must be phased out as the G20 pledged. #EndFossilFuelSubsidies #Rioplus20.”

The current draft of the Rio+20 agreement released on Saturday includes a paragraph on ending fossil fuel subsidies, but oil exporting countries like Canada and Saudi Arabia and the world's largest consumer, the United States, will likely attempt to delete any references to the proposal.

Activists with said tweets came in from cities around the world, including Sydney, London, New Delhi, and New York, as well as inside the Rio+20 negotations.

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