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2005-04 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 11, 2005
Tip sheet: Kyoto Protocol
As the Agreement Takes Effect, Many Questions Remain
Anatta, NCAR Media Relations
BOULDER � On February 16, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change will take effect. Negotiated in
1997 and ratified by more than 100 nations (although not the United
States), the agreement is a coordinated effort to limit emissions of
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.
Nations that ratified the protocol commit to reducing emissions below
1990 levels by the period of 2008�2012, with higher-polluting nations
facing more ambitious targets. The protocol also sets up a system of
emissions trading to help nations meet their targets.
�We cannot stop climate change, but we can slow it down,� explains Kevin
Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center
for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). �The Kyoto protocol is a first step
toward slowing the rate of emissions of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere, and, with incentives in place, the potential exists for
major developments in new technologies.�
The protocol raises a number of important science and policy issues.
These include the potential impacts of our changing climate, the extent
to which the protocol will minimize climate change, and how emissions of
greenhouse gases can be tracked.
NCAR researchers are on the forefront of climate change research. By
using some of the world�s most powerful supercomputers and analyzing
worldwide data, they estimate how natural factors and human-induced
changes to the atmosphere are affecting our climate, as well as how
agreements such as Kyoto may affect global warming. They also are
important contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), which provides assessments of climate science for policy makers
The NCAR scientists listed below are available to comment on the latest
developments in climate research and how the protocol may affect future
Caspar Ammann, 303-497-1705, ammann@...
Specialties: As a member of NCAR�s paleoclimate team, Ammann studies how
today�s warming temperatures compare with past climate patterns. He also
contributes to a Web site managed by scientists, www.realclimate.org,
that provides information on climate research for the media and the public.
William Collins, 303-497-1381, wcollins@...
Specialties: Collins focuses on upgrades to the Community Climate System
Model, an NCAR-based software system that is one of the world�s most
powerful climate simulation tools. He is an expert on the strengths and
limits of climate models, as well as the benefits of more powerful
supercomputers for future research.
Michael Glantz, 303-497-8119, glantz@...
Specialties: A social scientist, Glantz works on international
collaborations to minimize the societal impacts of environmental
threats, including climate change and drought. He is an expert on El
Ni�o and other patterns that have worldwide impacts on climate, and he
has years of experience in working with developing countries.
Tim Killeen, 303-497-1111, killeen@...
Specialties: The director of NCAR and the president-elect of the
American Geophysical Union, Killeen has a broad view of the importance
of science in policy decisions. An expert on solar-terrestrial and space
physics, he carefully monitors progress in climate change science.
Gerald Meehl, 303-497-1331, meehl@...
Specialties: Meehl, who uses powerful computer models to simulate global
climate, is a convening lead author of the upcoming fourth IPCC
assessment of climate change. He studies such issues as how much our
climate will change in coming decades even if industrial emissions can
Susanne Moser, 303-497-8132, smoser@...
Specialties: A geographer, Moser looks into the potential regional
impacts of climate change, as well as the interactions between science
and policy in adaptation decisions. She is an expert on coastlines and
the possible impacts of rising sea levels.
Kevin Trenberth, 303-497-1318, trenbert@...
Specialties: Trenberth is an expert on using observational data to
estimate the extent to which climate is changing and the likely impacts
of a warming world on drought, precipitation, and other climate
patterns. He is a convening lead author of the upcoming IPCC assessment
on climate change.
Tom Wigley, 303-497-2690, wigley@...
Specialties: Wigley has published studies on the potential effects of
reducing emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. His research includes the
detection of climate change in the atmosphere.
NCAR�S primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation.
Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this
publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science
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