Activists converged on the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand to protest the "unsustainable" use of biofuels during an international conference on climate change.
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"We defend our rights to food, land and water," read one of the banners held by some thirty protesters from the Global Campaign to Demand Social Justice, or DCJ, Action Aid, Climate Watch and other groups. Speaking at a press conference, activists urged delegations attending the climate change conference to defend human rights, as well as to protect small family farmers and Indigenous people. "Biofuels have been promoted as a green alternative to oil, but what they really do is cause land confiscation, food insecurity and deforestation," said Teresa Anderson of ActionAid.
Wanun Permpibul of Climate Watch Thailand said that farmers in Southeast Asia are being encouraged to replace their rice and food crops with palm oil plantations for biofuel. "(Palm oil) is a threat to food sustainability and does not promote biodiversity," said Permpibul.
The activists denounced that climate change is causing meteorological alterations that harm crops due to floods and droughts. It also harms fishermen due to changes in marine currents, as well as fish migration.
Ian Rivera, of the Movement for Climate Justice of the Philippines (PMCJ), urged conference attendees to defend food security and to stop confiscating farmlands from Indigenous communities in the name of large-scale agribusiness.
More than 1,400 delegates from 182 countries and 568 participants from NGOs and different agencies are attending the Bangkok conference. One of the main issues of debate involves financing from developed countries to lesser developed nations to help mitigate the effects of global warming.
The event will conclude on Sunday. Delegates are seeking to sign an agreement on a framework of guidelines and rules for final approval at the Climate Summit, or COP 24, which will be held in Katowice, Poland in December.
The guidelines should specify the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which seeks to outline measures countries must take to keep the global temperature from rising above 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius and a host of other objectives.
The Network for Climate Action, a platform of experts and NGOs, released a public statement saying that in order keep the global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees it is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and completely eradicate the outflow between 2040 and 2055.