University of Guelph professor emeritus Barry Smit has received the country’s top senior honour for an academic with his induction into the Royal Society of Canada.

Prof. Barry Smit

Smit, Department of Geography, has been honoured for his decades of work in climate change.

“The election to the RSC is an honour that reflects the support and encouragement I have received from colleagues over the years,” he said. “The University of Guelph, and the Department of Geography in particular, have provided an environment in which our research has been able to progress.”

“Barry Smit is internationally recognized for his pioneering research on one of the most important issues of our time,” said Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic).

“He has travelled the world and fully devoted himself to this research, while also providing a standard of excellence to his students and an incredible example for young faculty members to follow.”

Smit was among the first researchers to investigate human vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, a global development that he has called “an unnatural disaster.” He has worked in 68 countries, including some of the most underdeveloped regions on the planet.

Holder of the Canada Research Chair in Global Environment Change for a decade, Smit has served on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since its inception more than 25 years ago.

He was lead author of the panel’s fourth assessment report in 2007; the IPCC team shared that year’s Nobel Peace Prize with American vice-president Al Gore.

In 2013, Smit was named to the Order of Ontario and became the first U of G member to receive the Gold Medal, the top research honour of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

He will be inducted into the Royal Society Nov. 18 at the Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston, Ont.