Guterres said that to combat climate change “we need institutions like Cambridge”Wikimedia Commons

Today (3/11) the University of Cambridge conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Law on António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations in a ceremony at Senate House.

After being admitted to his degree, Guterres addressed an audience including the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, academics and students about the dangers of climate change and the responsibility of institutions like Cambridge to contribute to research combating it.

Guterres said: “We are careening toward climate catastrophe, unless we act now to keep temperature rises to the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement.”

He continued: “Cambridge University is at the forefront of efforts to tackle these crises, through Cambridge Zero and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.”

“And the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership is demonstrating that academia and the corporate sector can work together to drive transformative change.”

Guterres ended his speech by stating that to combat climate change “we need institutions like Cambridge.”

According to a study by MIT on “university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems”, Cambridge is one of the top three universities in the world for supporting innovation and research into pressing world issues.

Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope commented: “I am delighted that the University has today honoured the Secretary-General, António Guterres with an honorary degree. In doing so, Cambridge is also recognising the work of his U.N. colleagues around the globe.”


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“The Secretary-General is playing a crucial role in the arduous negotiations taking place at COP26, and has been stark in his warning about the risks we are up against. But he has also given us hope.”

The director of Cambridge Zero, Professor Emily Shuckburgh, said that the University was “channeling ideas and innovations from Cambridge to shape climate-resilient net-zero futures for every citizen of the world”.

The President of the Cambridge University United Nations Association (CUUNA), Flora Thurston, commented: “It’s exciting to see the university deepening its ties with the United Nations. The UN has so much to learn from the research done across Cambridge and it’s important that the university can engage in international issues on a practical level.”