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Top Ontario honour for U of G professor

University of Guelph geography professor Barry Smit, an expert on global warming, is one of 25 Ontarians who will be invested into the Order of Ontario at a ceremony Wednesday in Toronto.
Created in 1986, the Order of Ontario is the province’s most prestigious honour.
Smit is one of the world’s leading authorities on climate-change impacts and human adaptation, the award citation says.
He was among the first researchers to analyze the effects of climate change on economies and societies. He has examined societal vulnerability and adaptation to climate change across Canada and in developed and developing countries, ranging from Vietnam to Vanuatu and from Chile to China.
“I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people in countries and communities around the world,” Smit said in a U of G news release.
“Like many others, I would prefer to see more progress on dealing with the climate change issue in a reasoned way, especially in Canada,” he said.
“Yet I am encouraged by the increasing recognition of the reality of climate change, and I believe that gradually we will adopt more sustainable ways of living. I’m looking forward to see what the younger generations do.”
He said he doesn’t regard the Order of Ontario as an honour just for himself.
“It’s a bit humbling – we all do our jobs. But it certainly is delightful to be recognized in this way,” Smit said.
“I hope that all my colleagues and graduate students over the years see this as recognition for them also. I have been blessed with wonderful people to work with and such a supportive environment in my department.”
As well as being a geography professor, Smit is a Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change at the University of Guelph.
Smit, who earned a PhD from Hamilton’s McMaster University in 1977, has served on a provincial expert panel on climate change adaptation and co-authored a report titled Adapting to Climate Change in Ontario for the provincial environment ministry.
A member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1998, he was lead author of the panel’s fourth assessment report issued in 2007. The panel team, including Smit, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with environmental activist and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.
The 25 new appointees to the Order of Ontario were picked by the province’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for their contributions to the arts, law, science, medicine, history, politics, philanthropy and the environment.
They include world-renowned film director Deepa Mehta, lung transplant innovator Dr. Shafique Keshavjee, and celebrated actor and tenor Michael Burgess.

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