Press Release: Call to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies at Rio+20 Tops Twitter

June 18, 2012

Call to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20 Tops Twitter

EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, celebrities Mark Ruffalo, Ian Fry, and Robert Redford,  journalist Nicholas Kristof, and more join global push

RIO DE JANEIRO — The push to end fossil fuel subsidies at Rio+20 became the #2 most talked about topic worldwide on Twitter this morning.

The social networking site, which has 100 million active users, tracks discussions by hashtag and #endfossilfuelsubsidies ranked #2 globally and #2 in United States and Australia., the global climate campaign helping coordinate the effort, estimated that the hashtag was being tweeted at least once a second, reaching millions of people around the world.

A number of politicians, journalists, celebrities, and high-profile activists joined in the campaign, helping catapult it into the spotlight:

British actor Stephen Fry tweeted, “Let’s green $1 trillion with a plan to save the planet. Sign the petition & RT:  #endfossilfuelsubsidies #G20 #RioPlus20.”

American actor Mark Ruffalo, who recently played the Hulk in the box-office sensation The Avengers, tweeted, “Good Morn! Can you help us end fossil fuel subsidies? Pls tweet #endfossilfuelsubsidies TODAY to help us send a msg & spread the word.!!!”

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.”

Journalist and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted, “A twitterstorm underway calling on leaders to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio summit:” founder Bill McKibben tweeted, “$1 trilllion is a lot of money–tired of the fossil fuel industry laughing at us, so joining the twitterstorm #endfossilfuelsubsidies.”

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

Yesterday, and Avaaz unfurled a giant $1 trillion bill on the Copacabana beach in Rio, producing some spectacular photos. The global campaign is delivering a petition with 750,000 signatures calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies to G20 leaders in Los Cabos, Mexico this afternoon. Over a million people have signed different petitions calling for action on subsidies in the last two weeks.

The current draft of the Rio+20 agreement released on Saturday includes a paragraph on ending fossil fuel subsidies, but negotiations now hang in the balance as oil exporting countries led by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela attempt to delete any references to the proposal. The final decision is likely to come down to Brazil, who hold sway as the host country.

The Twitterstorm can be tracked at Supporting organizations for include:, Avaaz, Climate Reality Project, Earth Day Network, Friends of the Earth International, Global Exchange, Green For All, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace New Zealand, Natural Resource Defense Council, Oil Change International, Quercus, SumOfUs, Wild Aid, WWF


CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler,, +1 510-501-1779; In Rio, Jamie Henn,, +55(0)2181061948


1. Information on the $1 Trillion in fossil fuel subsidies: