Dan Glass, 24, a Plane Stupid volunteer, was at Number 10 on Tuesday to receive an award for his campaigning.
As Mr Brown shook his hand, Mr Glass, from Barnet, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, grabbed the Prime Minister's sleeve and said: "This is a non-violent protest. I have superglued myself to the buttons of the Prime Minister. We can't shake away climate change, like you can just shake away my arm."
Mr Brown laughed and tried to shrug him off. But the Strathclyde University postgraduate said: "After 20 seconds, he tore my hand away - it really hurt."
Mr Glass was allowed to stay, but as he left, a police officer stopped him sticking himself to the Downing Street gates. A spokesman said Mr Glass had smuggled in the glue in his underwear.