Addressing graduating students at the Seton Hall University in Newark, New Jersey, the United Nations’ Secretary-General told them to not “work for climate-wreckers” and instead use their talents to “drive us towards a renewable future.”

During the commencement speech on Tuesday (24 May), António Guterres said the students graduating today “must be the generation that succeeds in addressing the planetary emergency of climate change.”


“Despite mountains of evidence of looming climate catastrophe, we still see mountains of funding for coal and fossil fuels that are killing our planet. That money continues to flow from some of the biggest names in finance, hedge funds and private equity”, the UN chief said.

Despite this trend, Guterres said that “investing in fossil fuels is a dead end — economically and environmentally.”

“No amount of greenwashing or spin can change that. So we must put them on notice: Accountability is coming for those who liquidate our future,” the UN chief said.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, Guterres said, he felt it was his duty to report that the students “are entering a world brimming with peril.”

For Guterres, the world faces “conflicts and division on a scale not seen in decades — from Yemen to Syria, from Ethiopia to the Sahel and beyond.”

He also highlighted the situation in Ukraine, saying it “is causing immense human suffering, destruction and death” and also “exacerbating a food, energy and finance crisis around the world.”

The Secretary-General said that “each challenge is another sign that our world is deeply fractured” and “these wounds will not heal themselves.”

“They cry out for international solutions. They demand that countries stand with one another within a strong multilateral system. Building a better, more peaceful future requires collaboration and trust, which are sorely lacking in today’s world,” Guterres concluded.