UN chief Guterres urges graduates to shun ‘climate wreckers’

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. implore / ɪmˈplɔr / (v.) – to emotionally or seriously request someone to do something

    In her speech, the city’s health officer implored the youth to not use drugs.

  2. brimming with (something) / ˈbrɪm ɪŋ wɪθ / (idiom) – to have or show something to a great degree

    The children were brimming with joy as they received their Christmas gifts.

  3. strife / straɪf / (n.) – an intense or violent conflict between people or groups

    There has been strife between the police and the protesters ever since the protests began.

  4. turn (something) around / tɜrn əˈraʊnd / (phrasal v.) – to cause a situation or organization to change in a positive direction

    The company was able to turn its decreasing sales around.

  5. bequeath / bɪˈkwið / (v.) – to hand down something, especially to the next generation

    This generation still holds the tradition that their ancestors bequeathed.


Read the text below.

The head of the United Nations implored graduating college students on Tuesday to reject jobs at companies that fund the fossil fuel industry he described as “killing our planet.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made his remarks to graduating seniors at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Guterres told the class at Newark’s Prudential Center that they are entering a world “brimming with peril” from conflict and strife and the effects of climate change — but that they can reverse the errors of previous generations by not working for financial institutions that profit off fossil fuels.

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

“As graduates, you hold the cards,” Guterres continued. “Your talent is in demand from multinational companies and big financial institutions. You will have plenty of opportunities to choose from thanks to the excellence of your graduation. So my message to you is simple: Don’t work for climate-wreckers. Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future.”

Guterres’s remarks came a week after he announced a five-point plan to encourage use of renewable energy around the globe, in the wake of a World Meteorological Organization report that said the last seven years were the seven hottest on record.

The plan calls for fostering technology transfer and lifting of intellectual property protections in renewable technologies as well as broadening access to supply chains and raw materials that go into renewable technologies.

“The climate crisis is wreaking havoc, and threatening to erase entire communities and even entire countries — with governments failing to take the action needed to turn this around,” Guterres said Tuesday. “My generation — and your parents’ generation — have fallen short in bequeathing the world you deserve. But I have hope that you will succeed where we failed.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • UN Chief Guterres encouraged the graduating class to not work for climate-wreckers. Do you agree with his advice? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Guterres mentioned that the previous generations have fallen short in taking care of the earth. Do you feel hopeful that the next generation would be able to protect the environment? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think speeches are effective in influencing others to act? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If you would give a speech at a graduating ceremony, what would be your message to the new graduates? Discuss.