Ministère de l'Environnement
et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques

Press Release


Montréal, May 16, 2002 –   The Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Greater Montréal, the Environment and Water, André Boisclair, and the Minister of Public Security, Normand Jutras, have launched Ouranos, a Consortium in regional climatology and adaptation to climate change. This research initiative of international scope will be the only one of its kind on our continent. What distinguishes Ouranos is the sum of scientific expertise it brings together into a single team.

The mission of Ouranos is to develop, structure and produce synergetic team work dedicated to the analysis and the search for solutions to climate change adaptation issues in a North American context. In addition to greenhouse gas emission reductions called for by the Québec government, the creation of Ouranos constitutes an additional means of addressing climate change and a tool for adaptation to new regional situations stemming from global warming.

A partnership that is truly unique and without precedence in Canada, Ouranos will regroup over 250 persons in multidisciplinary research teams hailing from universities and governmental and para-governmental organizations in areas that have been traditionally working apart: climate sciences, statistical analysis, characterization, impact and adaptation studies. The merging of isolated teams of scientists under Ouranos, it is hoped, will pull in relevant scientific data and information needed by decision makers to plan responses to the rapidly evolving climate situation.

The creation of Ouranos has been made possible thanks to financial contributions from nine Québec government departments and agencies: Environnement, Affaires municipales et Métropole, Ressources naturelles, Sécurité publique, Recherche, Science et Technologie, Agriculture, Pêcheries et Alimentation, Transports, Hydro-Québec, Valorisation-Recherche Québec, as well as the Canadian Meteorological Centre, Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.

This effort to unify human, financial, technical and computer science resources is estimated to cost upwards of 9 million dollars a year and is supported by four universities, namely, Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University, Université Laval and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), all Ouranos Consortium members.

"The Ouranos Consortium will make coordination and support of fundamental research possible," specified the Minister of Public Security, Normand Jutras. "This research on climate change is an advantage for setting up a true emergency preparedness culture and a sound prevention policy. It is consistent with the Québec government's mission to provide for the safety and protection of the population. We need to better understand the phenomenon to better plan, better prepare ourselves and, consequently, better protect ourselves."

"The sensitivity of Québec in conjunction with its geoclimate amply justifies the efforts and investments expended in setting up Ouranos," declared Minister Boisclair, who went on to point out that the Ouranos Consortium will enable the rapid expansion of two unique panels of experts recognized by climatology researchers throughout the world: natural variability at McGill University, and regional modelling at Université du Québec à Montréal. "Our scientists working in both these fields have known great success worldwide. And I will venture to say that the relationships they will build with Ouranos can only lead to greater recognition," Minister Boisclair said in conclusion.

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Jean-Louis Laplante
Press Attaché
Office of the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Greater Montréal, the Environment and Water
Tel.: (418) 521-3911

Rolande Laveau
Direction des communications
Ministère de l’Environnement
Tel.: (418) 521-3823, ext. 4494


Martin Roy
Press Attaché
Office of the Minister of Public Security
Tel.: (418) 643-2112

Rachel Delisle
Direction des communications
Ministère de la Sécurité publique
Tel.: (418) 644-6774


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