“‘My message to you is simple: Don’t work for climate wreckers.Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future.’”
That’s United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, addressing the graduating class of Seton Hall University on Tuesday.
And, no pressure: “You must be the generation that succeeds in addressing the planetary emergency of climate change,” he added.
Guterres, and specifically, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have been championing a more aggressive global response to global warming, putting particular emphasis on wealthy nations helping the developing nations that bear the brunt of climate change’s effects, but burn a smaller portion of the traditional energy sources behind the surge in man-made warming.
The IPCC said in a report earlier this year that by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by at least 43% to prevent 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming at the end of the century. That’s a key degree target set in 2015 at a Paris climate summit and is seen keeping the world from the worst ravages of warming damage.
In March, the IPCCdrilled down on short-term crises around the world in places under immediate threat and with no funding to act. And it called out the oil
and gas industries in particular.
Last week, the U.N. announced five actions to speed up the shift to renewable energy.
“Despite mountains of evidence of looming climate catastrophe, we still see mountains of funding for coal and fossil fuels
that are killing our planet,” the U.N. head told the graduates on Tuesday. “That money continues to flow from some of the biggest names in finance, hedge funds and private equity. But we know investing in fossil fuels is a dead end — economically and environmentally.”
Fewer than half of 150 major banks and financial institutions, some that joined a high-profile climate pledge, have limited their business with the oil-and-gas sector to the degree expected to limit global warming by 2050. That’s alleged by the Paris-based nonprofit Reclaim Finance and research partners in a report that includes a policy tracker.
Guterres told the graduates that their future will be richer if care about where they work.
“Your talent is in demand from multinational companies and big financial institutions. You will have plenty of opportunities to choose from,” he said. ”My message to you is simple: Don’t work for climate-wreckers. Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future.”
His remarks widened from climate change.
Guterres also told the graduates that the engineering degree he earned over four decades ago never resulted in a job in that field.
“What I ultimately took from my training went far beyond electronics or telecommunications,” he said.
“The most important skills I gained from my education were ‘learning how to learn,’ how to work with others, how to communicate ideas, and — above all — how to make a difference in the world.”