Over 170 activists gathered in Bangkok last weekend to voice their concerns over governments and corporations’ “failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The groups called for “climate justice” and a “fundamental departure from the current global order” to solve the climate crisis.
“By climate justice,” participants asserted in a conference document, “we mean that the burden of adjustment to the climate crisis must be borne by those who have created it, and not by those who have been least responsible.”
The conference was hosted by Focus on the Global South, a policy and advocacy group housed at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, together with 24 other co-organizers from around the world.
Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (or ECOT) said it participated in the conference and managed to bring the tourism and climate change issue into the debate.
The conference signaled the growing voice of social movements and civil society groups in Asia on the issue of climate change.
Throughout the three-day conference, participants repeatedly expressed frustration at how governments and corporations, who have thus far dominated the climate discussion, have failed to address the root causes of planet-threatening climate change, according to ECOT.
After over 30 workshops and plenary debates, participants reached consensus on their opposition to carbon trading and “offset” schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Development (REDD) program, which allow polluters to buy their way out of reducing emissions.
Participants also rejected industrialized agrofuels, megadams, and nuclear power, saying these “false solutions” will “merely exacerbate the climate crisis and deepen global inequality.”
As a solution, ECOT said, participants insisted that governments must confront the problem of overconsumption, both in developed countries as well as among elites in poorer countries.
The conference heard that while industrialized countries have been responsible for about 90 percent of historical greenhouse gas emissions, 99 percent of the risks posed climate change are being borne by people from developing countries.
“Dealing with the climate crisis inevitably involves a fundamental departure from the current global order, and a comprehensive transformation of social, economic, political and cultural relations at the local, national, and global level,” participants concluded.
The conference was attended by fishers and farmers, forest and indigenous peoples, women, youth, workers and non- government activists from 31 countries. The majority of participants came from Asian countries, but there were also representatives from North America, Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
In a related workshop and in the panel discussions, tourism was dealt with and mentioned. As a final outcome, the campaigning activities of the conference might include actions to “stop direct subsidies and tax exemption for aircraft and cruise-ship fuel.”