In passionate speech at UN climate talks in Glasgow, Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate urged world leaders to ‘prove us wrong’ on global warming
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – A Ugandan activist personified fears among young people and vulnerable countries during the UN climate talks on Thursday in Glasgow that world leaders will not take action to prevent potentially deadly levels of global warming.
âThe latest scientific data available tells us that to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we need to reduce global CO2 emissions by somewhere between 7% and 11% this year and next year, and every year after year, until we get to zero, âVanessa Nakate told business and political leaders in a passionate speech at the conference.
In fact, annual emissions are expected to increase in 2021, as the global economy rebounds from the pandemic.
“So I hope you can understand why many activists who are here in Glasgow, and millions of activists who could not be here, do not see the success that is being applauded in these halls,” Nakate said.
Experts say all the latest commitments from governments around the world could, if fully realized, push the global warming curve down below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) – the upper threshold set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
But scenarios that examine what countries have committed to in the short term put warming at 2.7 Â° C (4.9 Â° F), well above levels that science considers safe for human civilization. The UN chief told The Associated Press on Thursday that he believed Paris’ more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 Â° C was now “alive”.
âWhere I live, a two-degree world means one billion people will be affected by extreme heat stress,â Nakate said.
“Some places in the south of the world will regularly reach a wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 F),” she said, referring to a situation of extreme heat which the researchers say is becoming increasingly more common.
âAt this temperature, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating,â Nakate said. “Even healthy people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.”
She called for “drastic action (that) will pull us out of the abyss”, saying past promises on climate change have been repeatedly broken.
âI’m actually here to beg you to prove us wrong,â Nakate said. âWe desperately need you to prove us wrong. Please prove us wrong. God help us all, if you fail to prove us wrong. God help us. “
Follow AP’s coverage of the UN climate talks at http://apnews.com/hub/climate