Today, the pop culture zeitgeist has momentarily fallen by the wayside. Justin Bieber's ubiquity on Twitter's trending topics has given way to environmental activists who are urging an end to massive fossil fuel subsidies.
Activists are using the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies to compel world leaders attending this week's G20 conference to reallocate an estimated US$1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies and instead invest in greener technologies that would combat climate change.
A related petition has picked up over 754,000 signatures as of midday in New York. The petition will be delivered to the head of the Mexican delegation at the G20 summit in Los Cabos.
"It’s crazy, but right now, our governments give nearly $1 trillion a year of our taxpayer money to Big Oil and Coal to destroy our planet. Key leaders, including Mexican President Calderon who is hosting the G20, have already agreed to stop these polluter payments. Now, if we demand they act on their word and divert this huge sum into renewable energy, experts say we could actually save our planet!" the petition reads.
Twitter was instrumental in the Arab Spring uprisings last year. Could it be equally effective in influencing leaders of the developed world? In the United States, at least, viewpoints on renewables are more influenced by political persuasion than discourse. And there's always the question: are any subsidies appropriate?
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