A Ugandan activist channeled the fears of many young people and vulnerable countries on Thursday UN Climate Talks in Glasgow that world leaders will not take the necessary steps to prevent potentially lethal levels of global warming.
“The latest available science tells us that to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we must reduce global CO2 emissions somewhere between 7% and 11% this year, and next year, and every year after year, until we get to zero, ”Vanessa Nakate told business and political leaders in a passionate speech at the conference.
Actually, Annual emissions are expected to increase in 2021., as the world economy recovers from the pandemic.
“So I hope you can understand why many of the activists who are here in Glasgow, and millions of activists who couldn’t be here, don’t see the success that is being applauded within these corridors,” Nakate said.
Experts say that all the latest promises made by governments around the world could, if fully delivered, bend the global warming curve below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit): the upper threshold established in the 2015 Paris agreement.
But the scenarios that look at what countries have committed to in the short term put warming at 2.7 ° C (4.9 ° F), far beyond the levels that scientists consider safe for human civilization. The United Nations chief told The Associated Press on Thursday he believes that Paris’ most ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C is now “on life support.”
“Where I live, a two degree world means one billion people will be affected by extreme heat stress,” Nakate said.
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“Some places in the global south will regularly reach a wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 F),” he said, referring to an extreme heat situation. that researchers say is becoming increasingly common.
“At that temperature, the human body cannot cool down by sweating,” Nakate said. “Even healthy people who sit in the shade will die in six hours.”
His words echoed dramatic warnings coming from others in the talks like Tuvalu, whose foreign minister delivered a speech at the UN climate talks knee-deep in ocean waters that will engulf his island nation if global warming continues on its current path.
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The Pacific island nation’s finance and climate minister Seve Paeniu said Tuvalu was already considering a massive project to raise the island nation’s surface above rising ocean level at a cost of hundreds of millions.
“It threatens the survival of our people,” he said.
Nakate called for “drastic action (to) lift us out of the abyss,” and said past promises on climate change had been repeatedly broken.
“In fact, I’m here to beg you to prove us wrong,” said the 24-year-old. “We desperately need you to prove us wrong. Please prove us wrong. God help us all if you don’t prove us wrong. God help us.”
Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.