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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Independent Survey Confirms Global Warming is the #1 Environmental Concern for New Brunswickers

A New Brunswick survey conducted in mid February by Corporate Research Associates (CRA) as part of The Atlantic Quarterly confirms that global warming is the leading environmental issue. The questions were commissioned by forestry company J.D. Irving, Limited.

In both aided and unaided response, global warming was identified as the most important environmental issue today by New Brunswickers. Indeed, of the six major environmental issues evaluated, global warming (30%) was chosen as the top issue, followed by air quality (25%) and water quality (21%).

The CRA study confirmed that when asked to choose from a list of 6 environmental issues, global warming was the top answer (30%), followed by air quality (25%) and water quality (21%).

It is clear that residents in New Brunswick also understand the positive impact on the environment of growing trees. In fact, 84% of New Brunswickers believe that growing trees either has a significant (62%) or a moderate (22%) impact on reducing greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

When asked: "to the best of your knowledge, does growing trees have a significant, moderate, little or no impact at all on the reduction of greenhouse gases?" 84% of New Brunswickers agreed that growing trees has significant (62%) or moderate (22%) impact on reducing greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Furthermore, the vast majority (79%) of New Brunswickers either completely or mostly agee that the forests in New Brunswick can support jobs, while still maintaining a healthy and sustainable forest.

The provincial poll also asked New Brunswickers whether they agree, mostly agree, mostly disagree or completely disagree that the New Brunswick forest can support jobs while still maintaining a healthy and sustainable forest. Seventy-nine (79%) completely or mostly agreed.

"Overall awareness of environmental issues continues to grow and there is now widespread acceptance that global warming is a leading concern," said Don Mills, President of Corporate Research Associates. "At the same time, there is clear recognition of the value of planting trees to positively impacting the environment."

Global warming refers to an average increase in the Earth's temperature, which in turn causes changes in climate. Gases like carbon dioxide retain heat in the Earth's atmosphere, similar to the glass panels of a greenhouse. Scientists believe that fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide - resulting in global warming. Reducing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide helps fight global warming.

Growing trees absorb about 1 tonne (907 kg) of carbon dioxide in their life cycle and are a recommended way to reduce the impact of global warming. Today, 19 European countries recognize forest management in their plans to address climate change, including major forestry countries such as Finland and Sweden. Several U.S. states have also adopted tree planting and tree growth as part of their response to global warming. The 2006 Report from Canada's National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy predicted land use and forestry could result in a 100 million tonne net reduction of CO2 per year by 2040/2050.

"We conducted the poll to better understand what New Brunswickers are thinking about environmental issues and, in particular, climate change. We also wanted to understand their views on the impact of sustainable forest management and tree growth as part of the solution to global warming," said Blake Brunsdon, Chief Forester for J.D. Irving, Limited. "These results are consistent with the most recent findings of the largest survey conducted in Canada about global warming. The Globe and Mail confirmed that 77% of Atlantic Canadians believe global warming is real and 52% of Atlantic Canadians believe it will impact the next generation."

"This year, J.D. Irving, Limited celebrates 50 years of planting trees and will plant 33 million trees," said Brunsdon. "This is in addition to over 700 million trees planted since 1957. Trees not only provide habitat for wildlife and jobs for people, they also help mitigate the impact of global warming. A majority of New Brunswickers (79%) agree that the forest can support jobs while maintaining a healthy and sustainable forest."

The CRA poll was conducted between February 12 and February 19 and is considered accurate plus or minus 4.9% 19 times out of 20.

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