Why the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies campaign is so clever
— HuffPost Green (@HuffPostGreen) June 18, 2012
For over 24 hour this week, the hashtag #EndFossilFuelSubsidies has been trending on Twitter.
Standing back from the politics, this is a very clever piece of green communications. Broadly speaking the extremes of the green debate are:
- The archetypal green activist with their anti-corporate, anti-commercial instincts, especially “Big Oil”. Thinks Government should interfere as much as required to deliver sustainability as it distrusts the market (and market based solutions);
- The libertarian who believes individual human freedom comes ahead of all else. Sees the debate on environmental issues like climate change as a left wing plot to curtail those freedoms. Thinks Government should be as small as possible, let the markets manage everything else.
Normally these two are polar opposites and there is little they can agree on. However fossil fuel subsidies should be one of those things. The greens hate the subsidies because they’re promoting carbon emissions. The libertarians should hate them as they are against the use of taxpayers’ money to distort markets.
I say “should”, because some from the libertarian movement like the head of the libertarian Taxpayers’ Alliance have stuck their head above the parapet to knock the campaign, maybe showing that tribalism trumps principle.
But all and all, a very clever piece of green campaigning, neatly triangulating the two extreme positions – and a good example of what I call green jujitsu – using your ‘opponent’s’ strength against them.