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May 24, 2022, 10:31 a.m. EDT

‘Don’t work for the climate wreckers’: U.N.’s António Guterres to 2022 graduates

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By Rachel Koning Beals

That’s United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, with some career advice for the graduating class of Seton Hall University and really, an entire generation about to enter one of the most favorable job markets in memory.

No pressure: “You must be the generation that succeeds in addressing the planetary emergency of climate change,” he said in remarks shared via the U.N.’s newsfeed on Tuesday. Watch the entire address .

Guterres, and specifically, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have been championing a more aggressive response to global warming, putting particular emphasis on wealthy nations, financial markets /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.16% and corporations aiding the developing nations that bear the brunt of climate change’s effects, but burn a smaller portion of the traditional energy sources whose pollution is behind the surge in man-made warming.

The IPCC said in a report  earlier this year that by as soon as 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. Last week, the U.N. announced five actions to speed up the shift to renewable energy .

Even on a celebratory day, Guterres was blunt about what’s at stake.

“Despite mountains of evidence of looming climate catastrophe, we still see mountains of funding for coal and fossil fuels /zigman2/quotes/210189548/delayed NG00 -5.08% that are killing our planet,” the U.N. head told the graduates. “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 global 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 figure is alleged by the Paris-based nonprofit Reclaim Finance, which issued a policy tracker .

Read: Taylor Swift’s career advice for the NYU Class of 2022: Shake it off, but show your boss enthusiasm

No doubt, graduates are entering a strong hiring market, which means they can have more say in opportunities and compensation. There are roughly 33% more jobs available for the class of 2022 than there were for the class of 2021, according to the  National Association of Colleges and Employers,  and “overall hiring continues to surge,” said Mary Gatta, NACE’s director of research and public policy.

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 broadened 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.”

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