“We expected the leaders to rise up for the people, to rise up for the planet”

 The capital of Uganda coughs itself awake on weekdays under a soft blanket of smog. Kampala’s hills come into sharper focus as the morning rush of minibuses and motorbikes fades. It is this East African city that one of the world’s most well-known climate activists, Vanessa Nakate, calls home, AP reports.

The 25-year-old’s rise in profile has been quick. Not even three years have passed since she set out with relatives in Kampala to stage her first, modest protest over how the world is treating its only planet.

In an interview this week with The Associated Press — which last year drew international attention and Nakate’s dismay by cropping her from a photo — she reflected on the whirlwind. She spoke of her disappointment in the outcome of the U.N. climate talks in Scotland and what she and other young activists plan for the year to come.

“We expected the leaders to rise up for the people, to rise up for the planet” at the talks known as COP26, she said. Instead, the world could be on a pathway to warm 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times.

That’s well above the goal of limiting warming to 1.5C — and would be “a death sentence for so many communities on the front lines of the climate crisis,” Nakate said.

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