CMOS Position Statement - 2003

Position Statement on the Kyoto Protocol:

The Kyoto Protocol: About Managing the Global Commons

The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) is the non-profit scientific organization representing Canadian atmospheric and oceanic scientists and professionals. Since 1963, the goal of CMOS has been the advancement of meteorology and oceanography in Canada. CMOS has a special committee charged with the examination of timely scientific issues.

1. CMOS endorses the conclusions of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2001 1 . This report draws on the scientific knowledge of over 1000 of the world's leading climate scientists - both as contributors and as reviewers. Some of the conclusions from the report were:

  • Concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and their radiative forcing have continued to increase as a result of human activities;
  • Since the Second Assessment Report (1995), there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities;
  • The change in climate of the past century (in particular the rise in global surface temperature) cannot be accounted for by natural variability (solar and internal variability) alone;
  • Global average air temperature and sea level are projected to rise under all greenhouse gas emission scenarios considered by the IPCC;
  • Stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of CO 2 by 2100 (even at 550 ppm - twice the preindustrial concentration) would require global CO 2 emissions from human activities to drop below 1990 levels by 2050 and to continue to decrease until and beyond 2100. Based on this assessment and the scientific literature that underlies it, CMOS reiterates that there is sufficient scientific evidence to warrant international action to curb the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases.

2. CMOS agrees that full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol should reduce the rate of increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

  • CMOS recognizes that Kyoto is a first step, and that further reductions will be needed to stop the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would establish policy instruments to negotiate future reductions through a variety of mechanisms including conservation, and increased reliance on non-carbon-based energy sources.

3. CMOS encourages the further development of economic projections, based on scientifically plausible scenarios of future climate change, population distributions, and economic/energy development, that are subject to the same level of intense international review and scrutiny that is built into the IPCC scientific assessment process.

4. CMOS supports the need identified by The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and its Article 5 on Research and Systematic Observation, and the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, which provides that governments must undertake enhanced climate research and report on observations of the climate system.

5. CMOS takes the position that Canada's, and indeed the world's, success in dealing with climate change can only be achieved through an informed population. CMOS affirms its own commitment to the promotion and dissemination of well-founded knowledge on the science of climate change. The public must understand the reasons for and consequences of climate change before they can be expected to accept the need for proactive measures and to participate fully in their implementation. CMOS encourages other agencies and organizations to join in this goal.

1 Summary assessments publicly available at http://www.ipcc.ch
9 June 2003