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Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 04, 2005

Students to Brief Environment Secretary on Climate Change

The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Environment will visit the University of Guelph Nov. 8 to get some advice from geography students on what Canada’s position should be on international climate change.

Bryon Wilfert, an MP for Richmond Hill, will attend Robert McLeman’s class on Global Environmental Change at 11:30 a.m. in Rozanski Hall, Room 103.

Wilfert accepted the invitation to come to Guelph because McLeman’s students recently completed a multi-week simulation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will be held in Montreal Nov. 28 to Dec. 9. It will be the first meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the largest intergovernmental climate conference since the protocol was adopted in 1997. Some 8,000 to 10,000 participants are expected.

“I am looking forward to engaging in such a discussion with the students who show a keen interest in the environment and the issues facing society,” Wilfert said.

“These students are ambassadors for our country and are great promoters of Canada’s environmental initiatives.”
Students in McLeman’s class represented UN member states and negotiated items on the actual Montreal agenda. “They have developed expertise on international climate change issues rivalling that of veteran policy advisers,” he said.

“It’s an issue that means a lot to them, as they will have to confront the impacts and ramifications of climate change in their lifetimes. It’s not some abstract idea for them.”

During the class with Wilfert, the students will discuss their views on the international positions Canada should take on climate change, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions and other related issues. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the students to make their views known to a senior decision-maker,” McLeman said. “I think the parliamentary secretary is going to be very impressed by what he hears.”

The University of Guelph is known as a world leader in climate change vulnerability and adaptation research, he added.

Robert McLeman
Department of Geography
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 54174/(519) 654-6217

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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