BANGKOK – Activists condemned on Wednesday biofuels at a protest in front of the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok, where an international conference on climate change is being held.
More than 1,400 delegates from 182 countries and the European Union as well as 568 participants from non-profits and several agencies are taking part in the Bangkok Climate Change Conference, which will end on Sunday. It seeks agreement on a framework of guidelines and regulations before finalization at the COP24 climate change conference in Poland in December.
“Defend our rights to food, land and water,” said one of the placards held by around 30 demonstrators from countries including the Philippines, Nepal and Kenya, who are part of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice (DCJ).
At a press conference at the UN headquarters, representatives of several non-profits grouped under DCJ urged delegates to give priority to the protection of the rights of communities as well as of farmers and indigenous people.
Teresa Anderson of ActionAid said that although biofuels have been promoted as a green alternative to oil, what they really do is lead to the confiscation of land, food insecurity and deforestation.
Wanun Permpibul of Climate Watch Thailand said that in Southeast Asia, farmers are being encouraged to replace rice and food crops with palm oil plantations for biofuels.
Wanun called palm oil a threat to food sustainability and said it does not promote biodiversity.
The activists said climate change is altering weather patterns and causing problems such as floods, which are harming farmers, and changes in ocean currents and fish migration, impacting fishermen.
Ian Riviera of the Philippine Climate Justice Movement urged countries to defend food security and put a stop to agricultural land confiscation.