Position Statement on Climate Change

Improved Knowledge Needed for Smarter Decisions


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.

The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, noting the Kyoto Protocol negotiated by Canada and other nations, as well as the ongoing debate about climate change, issues this policy statement for the information of all concerned.

CMOS asserts that a common understanding of the science of climate change and variability is an essential basis for developing effective programs and policies on climate change, including addressing the commitments laid out in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

CMOS endorses the process of periodic climate science assessment carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and supports the conclusion, in its Third Assessment Report, which states that the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.

CMOS also endorses the conclusions of the Canada Country Study:  Climate Impacts and Adaptation, which shows that our response will be critical in determining the environmental, economic and social costs and benefits of climate change for Canada.

CMOS recognizes that current uncertainties in the scientific understanding of climate limit our ability to predict the nature of future change accurately.  In particular, it is unclear to what degree and in which regions Canada will experience an increase of weather extremes (floods, droughts, ice storms).  However, there is sufficient understanding to justify reducing the human activities which can induce climate change and developing techniques to adapt to climate change.

Thus, among the necessary scientific endeavours, CMOS recommends enhanced monitoring of climate and further research aimed at the following:

  • understanding and predicting changes and variations in climate;
  • understanding impacts of climate variation on our environment and society;
  • adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Canadian scientists have the capabilities to make a significant contribution to the global body of knowledge in all of these areas.  As a country that is dominated by climate, Canada should have a strong motivation to understand and deal with changes to its own climate.

Updated, February 2002

     
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