7/18/2011 4:12:32 PM

PBI Honors Ontario's Leadership

The province of Ontario earned our prestigious Four Paws Award for extraordinary leadership in reducing CO2.  Our chief scientist, Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, presented the award during a ceremony at the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA) conference, in Ottawa, Canada, on July 18, 2011.

Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources, accepted the honor on behalf of Premier Dalton McGuinty and the province. In presenting the award, PBI cited Ontario's commitment to close coal-powered generating stations in the province by 2014, as well as its initiatives to promote green energy solutions.

"Ontario earned the award because of its extraordinary leadership on CO2 reduction projects," said Amstrup. "The province has developed a model that other jurisdictions can follow." 

Amstrup said that sea ices loss in the Arctic from greenhouse gas emissions threatens polar bear survival. Polar bears rely on the sea ice to hunt, breed, and, in some cases, to den. He emphasized, however, it's not too late save polar bears and their habitat by significantly reducing CO2.

"Our research shows that time remains," Amstrup said, "but it also shows that we must act quickly. Provinces like Ontario can play an important role in taking action on climate change, developing models for others to follow, and building the momentum needed to save this iconic species and its sea-ice habitat. We're pleased and proud to recognize Ontario's leadership on CO2 reduction efforts."

Jeffrey said that she was delighted to accept the award on behalf of Premier McGuinty and the province. "As the most southerly population in the species' range, Ontario's polar bears are among the first to show the effects of climate warming and the loss of sea ice," said Jeffrey. "We're working hard to make sure our bears—and all other species—have a fighting chance. To be recognized by this esteemed organization for our commitment to fight climate change is truly an honor for Ontario."

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