by Gareth Hughes
Today Twittertologists are forecasting a 24 hour ‘Twitterstorm’ to engulf the Earth.They are predicting the tweets will start flying at 8pm tonight.
Numerous environmental groups are joining forces to try and break the world record for most tweets of a single hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies in a 24 hour period. This is in advance of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, where climate change is expected to feature in discussions.
From the #endfossilfuelsubsidies website:
“According to figures compiled by Oil Change International, countries together are spending as much as $1 trillion dollars annually on fossil fuel subsidies. The International Energy Agency estimates that by cutting these subsidies, the world can cut global warming causing emissions in half and significantly contribute to preventing a 2 degree temperature rise, the number most scientists say we need to stay under to prevent runaway climate change.”
In New Zealand we have a number of direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuels, sending market signals incentivising investment in these ‘bads’. On the consumption side, the National Government’s amended Emissions Trading Scheme is seeing taxpayers foot the bill for over a billion dollars in credit to polluters and with Solid Energy’s lignite plans we could be forking out even more. On the production side, the Government is spending over $25m gathering seismic data to give to the oil industry for free, and incentivising oil production with support and numerous tax exemptions. I was astounded when I questioned Energy Minister Phil Heatley in select committee last week, he said he was comfortable with New Zealand having the forth lowest taxes plus royalty returns of any producer nation in the world! Meanwhile in the recent Budget, ‘goods’ including the biofuels subsidy and solar hot water heating grants were canned.
Imagine what we could achieve in reducing emissions and building a smart, green economy if we could instead invest that estimated $1 trillion dollars subsiding fossil fuels internationally on clean energy and green-tech! We can turn it around and build the future we want.