Cunning IPCC Bureaucrats

IPCC has a policy requiring them to make all expert and government review comments available under the following terms:

All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf

All IPCC review comments are submitted digitally in a spreadsheet format. In 2005, I requested copies of reviews on Chapter 6 of the First Order Draft. Instead of merely sending me the digital version, the IPCC secretariat sent me a print version by snail mail.

On January 24, 2007, while the review process was still being carried out, in my capacity as a reviewer, I requested a copy of the reviewer and government comments.

Pursuant to the following IPCC policy,
“All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years. http://www.ipcc.ch/about/app-a.pdf”
I would appreciate a copy of all written expert and government review comments on chapter 6 of the Second Order Draft. Thank you for your attention.

I have no record of any reply although, as noted below, Martin Manning says that he replied on February 5th. I re-iterated my request to Manning as follows:

Dear Dr Manning, I haven’t received any reply to this request. Could you please direct some attention to it. Thanks, Steve McIntyre

On May 18, Manning replied as follows:

I replied on February 5th to your request copied below, advising that we were at that time still setting up the arrangements for providing access to the review comments for the WG I report. These arrangements were completed very recently.

Thus the compiled comments and author responses for both the expert and government reviews are now archived at, and available from, the Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives at Harvard University. Please contact the archive center as follows:

George E. Clark, Curator
Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives
Littauer Library, North Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
USA

Today I received the following message from George Clark of Harvard:

Thanks for contacting Harvard’s Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives. I am the Archives’ curator. I’ve shifted your email message over to my question tracking queue so that I may keep better track of your request. We are undergoing a move in stages over the summer, so please bear with us as we work out new procedures for materials access. Currently, these materials are available by appointment within the hours of 10am – 4:45pm weekdays at Littauer Library.

At some point, service will switch to the Phillips Reading Room at Widener Library, but in either case, please let me know your desired time to visit (no later than one week prior) so that I can make sure the materials will be ready for you.
I will be away from the office June 21-July 5, so the materials will not be available during that date range.
Yours,
George Clark
617-496-6158

Two points about this. In my case, I don’t think that they complied with the letter of the policy. I submitted my request while the review process was underway and was entitled to a copy of the comments under the terms then applicable and not merely pursuant to the open archive term of the policy.

But more problematically, it was presumably open to the IPCC Secretariat when they were deciding on an “open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat” to establish an open digital archive and, if they wanted to, they surely would have. Their selection of a snail archive requiring a personal visit can surely have no other purpose than to comply with the letter of IPCC policy while making access as onerous as possible. Martin Manning and Susan Solomon must be very proud of themselves for this manouevre. Sir Humphrey is proud of them to.

UPDATE:

As noted in the comments, I contacted Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC, to seek acceptable access to the review comments as follows:

I was a reviewer of the WG1 report. On January 24, 2007, prior to completion of the IPCC review process, I requested a copy of review comments on chapter 6 of the WG1 Second Order Draft. Last week, I was advised by the WG1 TSU that I could access the review comments by personally attending at a library at Harvard University. Traveling to Boston for the purpose of accessing review comments imposes an unreasonable and unnecessary cost. Reviewers submitted comments in digital form and the review comments could readily be provided by the TSU in digital form, which would save onerous costs,

Accordingly, I request a copy of the chapter 6 expert and government review comments to be made available to me in digital form either by email or online. Thank you for your attention.

She replied:

Thank you very much for your message. I will advise the TSU to facilitate your access to the review comments. Can you however, just for my records tell me when you have initially requested the review comments.

Best regards,
Renate Christ

I replied to her request as follows:

Thank you for your prompt response. As noted below, I initially requested the review comments for the Second Order Draft on Jan 24, 2007 as shown below. On an earlier occasion, I had requested review comments for the First Order Draft and was sent a computer printout in hard copy. The review comments are all submitted in digital form. I presume that the review comments were sent to authors in digital form. I request that I receive the review comments in the same format as they were communicated to chapter 6 authors — in digital form if that is how they were communicated.

I notice that the IPCC Secretariat has the authority to determine the archive location. The comments are obviously intended to be public. I suggest that the comments be located online at an appropriate website in addition to any hard copy archive.

On May 22, Martin Manning of TSU replied as follows:

The Secretary of the IPCC, Renate Christ, has forwarded on to me the message below from you to her.

May I point out that the WG I TSU has never said or implied that you would need to travel to Boston to access the written review comments. We checked again yesterday with the curator of the Harvard archives library, George Clark, and he confirmed that he is very willing to copy and send you the comments you require. Could I suggest that you communicate with him via phone or email and clarify your requirements as I am sure these can be met quite quickly and reasonably.

I suppose that WG1 TSU didn’t say that I had to travel to Boston, but the curator asked me to send him my “desired time to visit (no later than one week prior) so that I can make sure the materials will be ready for you,” which initially indicated the need for personal attendance. In further correspondence with George Clark, he said that photocopying of up to 100 pages would be available on the following terms:

I have the material only in print form. I can provide a photocopy of up to 100 pages for research purposes only (not republication) for our interlibrary loan fee of $34 plus 40 cents per page. Copyright of the material resides with its authors.
It may be possible for you to hire a research assistant locally to look over the materials if that would be helpful in selecting materials of most interest. I can recommend someone if you like.

I replied to TSU and Renate Christ that I saw no reason why I should either have to incur these costs or accept a truncated version of the comments as follows:

Clark said that it would be $34 plus 40 cents per page and that he would only permit the copying of 100 pages. If I were not present in person, he said that he would recommend a research librarian that I could hire to select the 100 pages and do the copying. I was entitled to receive the review comments on January 27, 2007 when I requested them. I see no reason why I should incur expense now or why I should I accept a truncated version of the review comments, merely because of your failure to send me the comments when I requested them. Your proposal is unacceptable to me.

Please send me the comments in the same form that you supplied them to the section authors — digital if that’s how you provided them, by mail if that’s if how you provided them.

228 Comments

  1. jae
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    1. IPCC refuses to let you have the relevant data for your review.
    2. IPCC publishes the review report three months before the main report, so they ccan “FIX” the main report, so that it agrees with the summary.
    3. IPCC doesn’t follow its own policy regarding archiving.
    Is this neo-science, or what?

  2. bernie
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    Kafka-esque!

    It would also make a great story-line for the old BBC comedy, “Yes, Minister” except for the real consequences.

  3. bender
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    But Lee will be along any second now to tell us that the purpose of this was to centralize services to make them more efficient.

  4. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    It appears rather obvious to me from your communications listed here with the IPCC, Steve M, that the process used by them in making this critical information available is not particularly intent on doing so in an efficient or timely manner. But again that’s just me, so I will await those who might post here and question your concerns about these matters and demonstrate that what the IPCC is doing is quite acceptable and reasonable.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    What’s the over/under on how long it will take for Lee to say that the IPCC graciously permitted me access to the reviewer comments

    despite your whinging at them here, about their valid application of a valid policy. You have no valid complaint about this treatment. None. So apologize, and stop complaining.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1584

  6. Reid
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #1 Jaye says “Is this neo-science, or what?”

    Pseudo-science is more accurate. GCM’s produce pseudo-data and that data is considered more accurate than observations.

    Why is the IPCC expert reviewer commentary kept classified from the public? Anyone on the planet with an interest in climate science and an internet connection should have access to this information. What excuse does the IPCC have hiding this information from the public?

    I assume that if a reviewer made the pilgrimage to Harvard they would not be allowed to copy and disseminate the comments and opinions of the 2,500 “consensus” scientists.

  7. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

    Hey, just be glad they didn’t locate the archive in Ulan Bator, Outer Mongolia …

  8. cbone
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Re:7

    Shhh.. Don’t give them any ideas.

  9. James Erlandson
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps Harvard should walk across the street to MIT and ask for advice on how to set up a server. Although Harvard is rumored to have its own engineering school.

    Any prestige that Harvard gains from administering the archives is tiny compared to the damage to its reputation that will come from being part of a scheme designed to inhibit the free flow of important and valuable information.

  10. Lee
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    speaking of logic – well, basic reading comprehension, really – no, Dave. Bender ‘predicted” that I would present a particular defense of this IPCC practice. I have not, I will not. Based on what Steve has said (which based on recent practice I see no reason to trust, but no reason to mistrust at the moment either), this is not an appropriate archiving by IPCC.

    I have posted in this thread ONLY in response to references to me made first by other participants in this thread. Bender first accused me of mind reading, using that wording, in another thread. He brought that accusation indirectly into this thread by predicting my actions, STeveM piled on – in direct violation of his own blog policy, BTW – and they are both wrong about what I believe and my motivations, and about my actions.

    In the GISS thread, my basic point has been defended and agreed with by at least two CA regulars, one of whom advised SteveM to take the chip off his shoulder. Both Steve and bender have ignored those posts. bender has engaged in attempted belittling of my posts by accusing me of “mind-reading.” SteveM has not only allowed that, he has engaged it himself, here in this thread. Steve has been advised – not by me – to modify his original GISS thread to acknowledge that he was treated fairly by GISS. He has not done so. That failure to act has implications, of course – but far be it from me to engage in mind reading.

    And yes, this is off topic for this thread – but then so are the initial references to all this made by bender and SteveM.

  11. bender
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Ah, yes, here’s the beleagured victim now. I have accued HIM of mind-reading. This is rich. I know this will get deleted so …
    Lee, you are delusional. Go get help.

  12. Lee
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    bender – I misremembered, you didn’t use the mind reading” phrase. You responded to JerryB, who did, by aggreeing with him that I am making “unproveable conjectures.” You have not offered any support for that accusation. And yet, you jump in here with a false accusation that I am going to behave a particular way, with no evidense. Unproveable conjecture, indeed.

  13. bender
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Lee, go read what Dardinger wrote in the original thread. If you can follow it you will be laughing your butt off. I have another prediction, however.

  14. Armand MacMurray
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Reading through the IPCC “Procedures…” .pdf file referenced by Steve, I found the description of the selection and responsibilities of a “Review Editor” quite interesting. In particular,

    … Review Editors will need to ensure that where significant differences of opinion on scientific issues remain, such differences are described in an annex to the Report.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    I sent the following email to Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC,

    Dear Dr Christ,

    I was a reviewer of the WG1 report. On January 24, 2007, prior to completion of the IPCC review process, I requested a copy of review comments on chapter 6 of the WG1 Second Order Draft. Last week, I was advised by the WG1 TSU that I could access the review comments by personally attending at a library at Harvard University. Traveling to Boston for the purpose of accessing review comments imposes an unreasonable and unnecessary cost. Reviewers submitted comments in digital form and the review comments could readily be provided by the TSU in digital form, which would save onerous costs,

    Accordingly, I request a copy of the chapter 6 expert and government review comments to be made available to me in digital form either by email or online.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Steve McIntyre

  16. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    As to not giving the comments to Steve M. when originally requested, this appears to be a violation of IPCC policy, but, of course, the point is now moot and there’s likely nothing to do about it.

    As far as the possibility of establishing a digital archive, this is certainly true – but I don’t see why IPCC should be criticized more than other governmental or quasi-governmental agencies that do the same thing. Presidential libraries could put all the pre-digitized e-mails and documents on a publicly accessible servers, but they don’t. They provide access to determined researchers who come to the library. Clearly, it’s a form of public access w/o access to the general public.

    I suspect gov’t agencies, like SEC, usually put source data on the web only if it makes sense to do so instead of handling multiple FOIA requests. [or if mandated to do so...]

    A paper depository is easy; you send the papers to a library with a lump sum to pay for archiving. A digital archive has to be continually maintained and could be a target of modification by e-attack. An honest bureacrat at IPCC could reasonably believe that the comments’ value is historical only, and insignificant compared to the report. Why wouldn’t he be expected to pawn them off on a university library ? The IPCC policy itself appears to favor this by allowing the Secretariat to establish the archive “in a location.” I have no idea in how many “locations” or where Wikipedia exists, but I know the National Archives are “located” in Wash. D.C.

  17. Gary
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Making Steve drive from Toronto to Boston instead of sending him a digital copy of the information makes the IPCC responsible (in their minds anyway) for more global warming than is really necessary. Maybe CA can sell them some carbon credits?

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    #16. I’m not taking any position on digital versus paper archives. The policy establishes that the comments are not confidential. Emailing them in digital form is not mandated, but it’s not prohibited either. They could email the comments to me, while maintaining a paper archive at Harvard.

    I’ve emailed Harvard to see if copying is permitted and what it costs.

  19. Jim Bilodeau
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    I read this and remembered a passage from the book “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” by Douglas Adams and his trials with bureaucracy and them bulldozing his home.

    “But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”

    “Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.”

    “But the plans were on display …”

    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

    “That’s the display department.”

    “With a torch.”

    “Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”

    “So had the stairs.”

    “But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard.”

    See Steve it could be worse :)

  20. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I’ve emailed Andrew Dessler asking his assistance in making these comments available in digital form:

    Dear Dr Dessler,
    I am writing to request your assistance. I was a WG1 reviewer and in that capacity requested a copy of the review comments for the Second Order Draft chapter 6, which, according to IPCC policies, I was entitled to receive. The review comments were all submitted to IPCC in digital form. The IPCC Technical Services Unit has advised me that my only access to the comments is through attending personally at a library at Harvard University where they have archived the comments.

    Given that the comments are now public, there is no prohibition on IPCC simply emailing me the digital version of the comments. It is simply obstructive for IPCC to require me to incur the expense of traveling to Boston to access something that could be emailed to me. I trust that you agree with my position and, if so, will write to IPCC requesting that they make the comments available in digital form.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

  21. Harold Vance
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Re: #16

    >Presidential libraries could put all the pre-digitized e-mails and documents on a publicly accessible servers, but they don’t.

    But if the comments are already digital, there would be no need to digitize them. Did I miss something?

    >A paper depository is easy

    A virtual depository is even easier, especially if the comments were submitted and received in digital form. What would it take, a couple of directory copies to an ftp folder?

    >with a lump sum to pay for archiving

    Ibiblio.org offers free and highly secure storage for sites and material that are of public interest, such as Groklaw.org. I see no reason why they would turn down something as important as IPCC comments. My guess is that this form of archive won’t cost the IPCC dime other than the time it took to gather the docs and to request the space.

    btw, “ibiblio.org is a collaboration of the Center for the Public Domain and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

    >A digital archive has to be continually maintained and could be a target of modification by e-attack.

    The same principle applies paper archives, which have to be protected from the warming climate and from people who might want to destroy them. Note that digital archives are much easier and cheaper to replicate and to back up than the paper equivalent.

    >An honest bureacrat at IPCC could reasonably believe that the comments’ value is historical only, and insignificant compared to the report.

    If the report is significant, then it follows that comments pertaining to the report have the potential to be very significant.

    You guys need to watch an old Nike commercial. “Just do it” and cut out all the hemming and hawing.

  22. fFreddy
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve, given that these reviews are now “openly archived”, is there anything to stop you posting your own review here ?
    And ditto for any of the other reviewers who feel so minded ?

  23. John Hekman
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Steve
    They didn’t guarantee you would be granted admission to Littauer or Widener Library, only that the reviews are there and that you have their permission to see them at that location.

    Maybe Lubos can tell us whether Harvard would even allow Steve in the library.

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Andrew Dessler replied very cordially to me email saying that he’s been following this on the blog and agreeing that these comments should be publicly available. He asked for contacts (which I provided) and undertook to express his position to IPCC. Good for him.

  25. Posted May 21, 2007 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    Dear John #23,

    I think that Steve would have to get a Harvard ID before he would be allowed to enter the main libraries. It’s probably not so unusual.

    More generally, I am confident that these steps are much easier if you know someone. For example, our colleagues at Columbia University – one of them very famous :-) – wanted a video tape or DVD of some Sidney Coleman’s old lectures.

    The right method for them was to contact someone they know and I was doing the internal work with our librarian who was extremely co-operative. It is conceivable that without such an insider, it would be more difficult for someone outside to get a copy of this VHS tape.

    To some extent, it is obvious that these things work more quickly if there is some friendly pressure around. Needless to say, things are easier for alarmists to get materials from libraries surrounded by alarmists. But I guess that Steve would have fewer problems when he tried to get materials from the Harvard physics library now (before June) or from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. ;-)

    Best
    Lubos

  26. Posted May 21, 2007 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Just for the record, I agree with the sentiments Steve expressed regarding the GISS Interruptus issue in #69 in that thread.

    In the case of archiving of IPCC reviewers’ comments, the first thing I thought of was the scene from the Hitchiker’s Guide as well. This is active information hiding with God knows what motivation. I am glad to hear about Dr. Dessler’s reaction. It would be great if Steve’s efforts resulted in the comments being available to everyone given the speed with which policy decisions are being made (I am not assuming worldwide public dissemination is Steve’s purpose, just expressing my wish).

    By the way, Steve, have you looked into asking a research librarian at University of Toronto making a request for copies? I am assuming they have some kind of inter-library loan process set up.

    Good luck.

    Sinan

  27. Posted May 21, 2007 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    Correction to 26: I was referring to post 70 by Steve in GISS Interruptus.

  28. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Why should they give you a copy of their report? They have 20 years invested in it and all you will do is find something wrong with it. Of course, when they decide that in a free world they should give you a copy, they will finally remember that they don’t archive the data.

  29. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    #21, Harold Vance

    I’m not sure who the “you guys” refers to in your post. I hope Steve gets a fat email tomorrow with all of the comments attached. If he doesn’t preserve them, there’s no guarantee they’ll exist in the official archive for more than 5 years. Nobody at this blog is on the IPCC Secretariat, to the best of my knowledge, so none of “us guys” was in on the decision regarding how to archive comments.

    If you read my post [#16], you’d see that my point was that the decision to archive was typical bureaucratic behavior, not likely IPCC-specific, conspiratorial behavior. Douglass Adams and Franz Kafka were writing about bureaucracies in general, not the IPCC in particular.

    Don’t confuse logic and reason with the behavior of government bureaucracies.

  30. MarkW
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 5:26 AM | Permalink

    #16,

    Drives can be made read only. I’ve seen some that come with a jumper that physically disables the write circuitry.

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Renate Christ, Secretary of IPCC, responded as follows:

    Thank you very much for your message. I will advise the TSU to facilitate your access to the review comments. Can you however, just for my records tell me when you have initially requested the review comments.

    I replied as follows:

    Thank you for your prompt response. As noted below, I initially requested the review comments for the Second Order Draft on Jan 24, 2007 as shown below. On an earlier occasion, I had requested review comments for the First Order Draft and was sent a computer printout in hard copy. The review comments are all submitted in digital form. I presume that the review comments were sent to authors in digital form. I request that I receive the review comments in the same format as they were communicated to chapter 6 authors ‘€” in digital form if that is how they were communicated.

    I notice that the IPCC Secretariat has the authority to determine the archive location. The comments are obviously intended to be public. I suggest that the comments be located online at an appropriate website in addition to any hard copy archive.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    —– Original Message —–

    From: Steve McIntyre

    To: Martin MAnning

    Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 10:58 AM

    Subject: Review Comments – Second Order Draft

    Dear Dr Manning, Pursuant to the following IPCC policy,

    All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years. http://www.ipcc.ch/about/app-a.pdf

    I would appreciate a copy of all written expert and government review comments on chapter 6 of the Second Order Draft. Thank you for your attention.

    Yours truly, Stephen McIntyre

  32. Boris
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Their selection of a snail archive requiring a personal visit can surely have no other purpose than to comply with the letter of IPCC policy while making access as onerous as possible. Martin Manning and Susan Solomon must be very proud of themselves for this manouevre. Sir Humphrey is proud of them to.

    Speaking of mindreading. Whipping up the ire and indignation of the posters here could be Steve’s motive for such spoeculation. But I wouldn’t say it could “surely have no other purpose.”

  33. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    #32. Ok, Boris, give me a reason.

    I’m not suggesting “ire and indignation”, but I’m suggesting that people should NOT accept this type of bureaucratic obfuscation. I don’t get angry about it; it amuses me that organizations behave so foolishly.

    As to motive, they put material online when it suits them and they chose not to here. They email review comments when it suits them (e.g. to authors), but they chose not to email them to me. Why should I have to go to Harvard library for a snail copy when a digital version is emailed to Keith Briffa? Why defend this sort of behavior?

  34. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Re: #16

    As far as the possibility of establishing a digital archive, this is certainly true – but I don’t see why IPCC should be criticized more than other governmental or quasi-governmental agencies that do the same thing.

    Jim Edwards, I am in substantial agreement with what you say about government agencies and bureaucratic reactions in general and that the IPCC is not acting in a significantly different way. That being said, however, does not make Steve M’s criticisms and actions without practical merit. The IPCC has a choice in this matter to passively follow the usual convoluted and bureaucratic paths to information or make it readily available without much added effort. The importance and immediacy that the IPCC attaches to these comments and information makes their (no) business/actions as usual approach seem very hypocritical to me.

    I sincerely hope that Steve M continues in his efforts and allows us a bird’s eye view of these agency and individual reactions as it adds to our enlightenment about bureaucracies in general and reactions in matters to do with climate specifically ‘€” and specific matters that could readily be attended by a little extra effort on the part of the controlling individuals.

    I must admit I get a kick out of those who post here defending these bureaucratic reactions and attempting wag their fingers at Steve M in a “how dare you” manner. It reminds me of Rush Limbaugh defending the FEMA bureaucracy as it operates under Bush that under Clinton he would have been most critical.

  35. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    #34. I agree that much IPCC behavior is classic bureaucratic behavior and that it is not necessarily unique among bureaucracies. I filed a complaint against a policeman in Toronto who destroyed a witness statement in an incident where one of my sons received serious head injuries in an assault by bouncers. The complaint got nowhere. I appealed and the appeal got nowhere. A couple of years later the policeman in question was on the front pages of Toronto newspapers due to corruption charges. He got caught in a federal police wiretap talking to organized crime.

    If you’re just writing letters, it was hard not to get pretty mad about it. One nice thing about having a blog with traffic is that when I get one of these silly bureaucratic responses, I can display it to others. I don’t waste one second getting angry or indignant with bureaucrats (contrary to what people allege), but I don’t accept it either. I’ve got a large enough audience that some bureaucrats may not want the bad publicity of having their pointless obstruction exposed and hopefully will redress the situation.

    Of course, not all people think that way’ some e.g. Jones prefer to just tough it out and litigate every step of the way. But that too must surely impose its own cost on the credibility on the climate science community and I’m hopeful that an increasing number of climate scientists will say to people like Jones (and perhaps even Thompson) – enough is enough; your behavior is intolerable.

  36. Boris
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    33: 16 gave you a reason.

    And pointing out how you ascribe the most sinister motives to the IPCC is not defending their acrhival practice.

  37. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    #36. Notwithstanding #16, I think that my ascription of motives is the most plausible of any alternatives put forward so far. First of all, there is conclusive evidence that the IPCC TSU decided that they didn’t want to put the comments online – their actions speak for themselves. Second, they decided that they didn’t want to send me a digital version or they would have done so. I believe that the most plausible interpretation of events is that TSU selected the snail archive to comply with the letter of the IPCC policy while making it as difficult as possible for the comments to turn up in digital form.

  38. Posted May 22, 2007 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Public comments could be interpreted as 1) Criticisms by scientists trusted by the IPCC and 2) Evidence of non-consensus within the IPCC community. It might not be good PR for these comments to be freely available and visible.

  39. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    #33, 34, 35

    I agree with you that just b/c every gov’t org is doing it doesn’t make it right. Sometimes it seems like Steve is Don Quixote, tilting windmills and “the Team” is in the business of building windmills. Like many here, I’m glad he’s still taking on the windmills that pop up. It’s absurd differential access to data issues keep popping up. This one sounds like it will be resolved.

    I think it’s important to keep in mind who “they” are to get the best results. It’s probably not any of the functionaries that Steve often has to deal with.

    I believe the IPCC itself, like other bureaucracies, probably acts in a fairly neutral, retarded manner. I expect that the reason some may get special treatment is explained by Lubos’s comment above [#25]; it’s good to have a friend in the inside. This is just like what we see at UEA w/ Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones sends data quickly to his friends on the outside; everybody else has to go through the bureaucratic ringer with the information officer. “They” are the Team members or allies who create an information superhighway for buddies while everybody else has to hack their way though the jungle. It’s corruption.

  40. Demesure
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    #38 “Public comments could be interpreted as 1) Criticisms by scientists trusted by the IPCC and 2) Evidence of non-consensus within the IPCC community.”

    The real motives of the IPCC’s bureaucratic and obstructionist behavior all amount to this. They are afraid as hell their “consensus” is shattered by a wide circulation of reviewer’s comments. Pseudo-science is sustainable thanks to lack of transparency. Enforce transparency and the whole house of cards collapse.

  41. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #38

    Public comments could be interpreted as 1) Criticisms by scientists trusted by the IPCC and 2) Evidence of non-consensus within the IPCC community. It might not be good PR for these comments to be freely available and visible.

    This comment makes a credible point in my mind in that we can readily have (1) the stumbling and bumbling but neutral bureaucracy at one level, (2) while at another level the bureaucracy administered by those who use this stumbling and mumbling passively to slow the flow of information for unnamed reasons (but indicating that they are not particularly interested in seeing it widely distributed) and finally at a level where (3) those who use the bureaucratic retardation of information flow in a more political an active mode to prevent bad PR as suggested in the comments above. There is no doubt that mode 3 can and does occur and I would suggest that many observers have contended that it has for the Bush administration and in things scientific. That the IPCC is playing a strong political/advocacy role in these matters is not in doubt in my mind. One can put these observations together in whatever manner that suits one’s good judgment or prejudices. Of course if the information were freely provided the opportunity to judge the intentions of the providers would not be available.

  42. Nicholas
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    The people who submitted the review comments did so knowing that they would be made public. Either that, or they didn’t bother to read the policy, which they probably should have. I think at this stage it’s too late to have second thoughts and change the policy. One of my favorite quotes is “never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity”, so I won’t comment on potential motives, merely note that they appear to be in breach of their own policy at this stage.

  43. Michael Strong
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    While I remain agnostic regarding the substance of the issues involved, the documentation that this blog reports on this sort of behavior thoroughly exposes the IPCC as a politically-motivated body. Steve’s earlier report on how his comments were ignored, the endless reluctance to share data, the lack of a clear and consistent commitment to transparency and cooperativeness, are all disappointing. The scale of expenditure involved is so great the case for a thorough audit of every aspect of the case for AGW should be indisputable and welcomed by all sectors of the scientific community. If, indeed, the alarmists are right they should be in the vanguard of insisting on IPCC transparency (as well as transparency from each individual climatologist). Independent observers, accustomed to the standards of transparency expected in many sectors of the business community, and implicitly expecting science to be far more honorable than the business community, can’t help but be disgusted by the IPCC’s behavior. The cliimatologists who defend IPCC behavior undermine the credibility of AGW and the broader (admittedly naive) reputation of science as a disinterested enterprise.

  44. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted May 23, 2007 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    Bureaucratic behaviour.

    The most delicious example.

    In 1964 Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and other actors from Nth America came to little old Melbourne Australia to film the nuclear holocaust movie “On the Beach”.

    “On the Beach” has a near-final scene when the Earth’s population is a few dozen people in Melbourne who escaped the killer radioactive clouds – so far.

    The scene shows an official nursing sister helping hand out suicide pills marked “Government Prescription 24768″. She is ticking off the names of people in a line so that they get one each – “Jones, Norman; Molly; Kenneth and Kim.”

    Must be sure that nobody gets more than the entitlement of suicide pills. Never mind that there is nobody to read the list any more, no Government, no future.

    To me, this has long been the ultimate bureaucratic act. You can apply it to many official acts and chuckle.

    I applied it to the difficulty Steve M had in accessing data in a remote library and sorry, Steve, I laughed.

  45. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 23, 2007 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    MArtin Manning of the WG1 TSU replied:

    The Secretary of the IPCC, Renate Christ, has forwarded on to me the message below from you to her.

    May I point out that the WG I TSU has never said or implied that you would need to travel to Boston to access the written review comments. We checked again yesterday with the curator of the Harvard archives library, George Clark, and he confirmed that he is very willing to copy and send you the comments you require. Could I suggest that you communicate with him via phone or email and clarify your requirements as I am sure these can be met quite quickly and reasonably.

    I suppose that WG1 TSU didn’t say that I had to travel to Boston, but the curator asked me to send him my “desired time to visit (no later than one week prior) so that I can make sure the materials will be ready for you,” which initially indicated the need for personal attendance. In further correspondence with George Clark, he said that photocopying of up to 100 pages would be available on the following terms:

    I have the material only in print form. I can provide a photocopy of up to 100 pages for research purposes only (not republication) for our interlibrary loan fee of $34 plus 40 cents per page. Copyright of the material resides with its authors.

    It may be possible for you to hire a research assistant locally to look over the materials if that would be helpful in selecting materials of most interest. I can recommend someone if you like.

    I replied to TSU and Renate Christ that I saw no reason why I should either have to incur these costs or accept a truncated version of the comments as follows:

    Clark said that it would be $34 plus 40 cents per page and that he would only permit the copying of 100 pages. If I were not present in person, he said that he would recommend a research librarian that I could hire to select the 100 pages and do the copying. I was entitled to receive the review comments on January 27, 2007 when I requested them. I see no reason why I should incur expense now or why I should I accept a truncated version of the review comments, merely because of your failure to send me the comments when I requested them. Your proposal is unacceptable to me.

    Please send me the comments in the same form that you supplied them to the section authors ‘€” digital if that’s how you provided them, by mail if that’s if how you provided them.

  46. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 23, 2007 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

    Re: #45

    How can the IPCC and the process revealed here have expectations of being taken seriously?

    We have only a few years to use this information in order to purportedly save the world, but if you really want to see it you will have to come to the Harvard library (no we did not mean that we meant you can otherwise copy only 100 copies for 70 plus dollars or hire someone to copy them for you) to receive hard copies of this information ‘€” and all that happening in a modern world where electronic copies are the norm and of course much, much more efficient to research.

    In the IPCC Platonic world, it would appear that the philosopher/climate kings have spoken and decided this issue and that should be all the rest of us need to know.

  47. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 23, 2007 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Here’s one of the interesting subtexts: The 100-page restriction on copying imposed by the Harvard library appears to exist because of standard library policies on copyright (I don’t know this, I surmise this).

    So let’s pose the question differently :should IPCC go open source on review comments? Why is IPCC demanding copyright protection for review comments? Maybe IPCC adopt wikipedia-like attitudes towards copyright (“copyleft”).

    Is IPCC protecting its copyright on review comments for commercial reasons? I sincerely hope not.

    So maybe we should start by people writing to IPCC asking them to waive their copyright on review comments (or better still, just put them online). Write to Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC at RChrist at wmo.int .

  48. Jeff Norman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    If you do not have access to an index of the comments, how would you know if your 100 page limit did not include 30 odd pages of explanatory notes, disclaimers and pages left blank on purpose. And without actually seeing them, how would you know if the remaining 70 pages weren’t editted into a power point format with a >24 font?

  49. MarkR
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant…..

    PRINCIPLES GOVERNING IPCC WORK

  50. Hans Erren
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    Dit other reviewers ask for this?
    Probably not…

  51. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

    Steve, if the IPCC resides, or has offices in US or other nations with FOI laws, why don’t you attack the problem with a FOIA letter to IPCC requesting specifically (it must exist as requested) what you want in a certified letter and point out failing to comply will be a violation of US law and will be treated as such. Here in the US, a copy of your request and the certification reciept is a federal document that you can use in court for either civil action or criminal action. Under the FOIA, the 100 page limit has little, if any standing. It may for the purposes of copywrited material, but this is supposed to be IPPC’s response to its own policy. Thus, you may prefer to talk directly to IPCC and point out that they have chosen an archiving solution that fails to meet their own policy, and by their own policy need to correct it, and have them pursue Havard to provide you the material. I think I like the latter method since it would be interesting to see how they answered if you included the obvious initial requirement to visit, and now the 100 page limitation. I would ask in what way did these two requirements become part of their policy and where (what paragraph) was this policy requirement stated.

  52. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    #49. Good point. I’ve sent a supplementary letter to Renate Christ as follows:

    In addition to my earlier comments, I refer you to the following principle governing IPCC http://www.ipcc.ch/about/princ.pdf:

    The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

    The TSU system in which only 100 pages of review comments are available in hard copy, and then only after incurring significant costs, do not comply with this statement of principles. There should be no doubt in your mind that the appropriate way to ensure that the process is “open and transparent” is ideally to put the review comments online or, at a minimum, to provide them to any reviewer who requests them in the same format and at the same cost as they were provided to authors.

  53. Reid
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

    I will be emailing Senator Imhofe and Congressman Barton alerting them that the IPCC is not allowing open access to the 2,500 scientists commmentary.

    This is not bureaucratic bungling as some on this thread have claimed. This is willful obstruction.

    If the commentary confirmed there is a real consensus it would be online for all to see. The comments would be numbered like Talmudic commentary on the Bible.

  54. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    #53. Reid, why don’t you email your own congressman rather than Barton and Inhofe who are stereotyped?

    BTW don’t assume that the IPCC is suppressing stadiums of scientists arguing against AGW or that the review comments will show great divides or lack of consensus among IPCC reviewers. The comments to chapter 6 of the First Order Draft weren’t like that and there is a consensus among climate scientists. If I had a big policy making job, I would be guided by that consensus.

    But that doesn’t mean that scientists should stop examining their assumptions and their data and their calculations. I want to see the review comments because I’m thorough, not because I expect them to overturn a policy process. Quite frankly, I have no idea why they don’t just send me the comments in the form that I requested them. If I were in their shoes and trying to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish, I’d just send the comments out without creating a pointless brushfire that just makes the institution look evasive.

  55. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    #51, John Pittman:

    Federal FOIA is only good against agencies of the US gov’t. It has no effect against alternate sovereignties within US territory like the Chinese embassy, the state of Michigan, or agencies of the United Nations.

  56. Mark T.
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    I will be emailing Senator Imhofe and Congressman Barton alerting them that the IPCC is not allowing open access to the 2,500 scientists commmentary.

    They probably get thousands of emails each day. When sending a complaint to a product manufacturer, it is recommended that you send an actual letter as that tends to get their attention (i.e., you spent the time and effort to type, print, and mail your complaint). The same holds for a job search. I would recommend you do the same if you want your request to be heard.

    Mark

  57. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    #55 True. However, states often have their own FOIA. From Havard’s site.

    As many of you know, last year Congress passed and the President signed new law requiring that research data gathered under federally funded projects be made available to the public via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The law required the Office of Management and Budget to implement this requirement through a revision to OMB Circular A 110 which governs research grants to non profit institutions. Harvard University, along with many other institutions, opposed the broad application of FOIA to data collected under research grants and attempted, unsuccessfully, to repeal the new law or revise it statutorily.

    So was this research part of the federally funded projects?

    Open Records Law G.L. c. 66, sec. 10.
    Exempt: Information that would invade individual privacy; trade secrets; public policy development memos; and investigative materials.

    Or just use the state law to determine if the response was legal?

  58. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    #57. If state law were involved, presumably it would be Colorado since IPCC WG1 is located in Boulder. I have no idea how they are financed other than it’s inconceivable that it’s not 99.99% U.S. federal funding. But what programs? what’s the budget? Good questions. I’d love to know the answer if anyone knows.

  59. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    #57

    I’d think a small percentage of ‘research’ in comments to 4AR was conducted since last year. The new federal law probably can’t be used to force private institutions to disclose data produced with federal money before the law was passed. I haven’t read the new law, but federal grants are like contracts – the government can’t arbitrarily add conditions seven years later. Maybe the law says: ‘disclose all of the old data or you’re ineligible for future grants.’ It’s possible waivers were signed by the researchers or private research institutions for older data. If not, the remedy would probably be an option for the gov’t to stop future funding [not enforceable by the requestor], rather than for a Fed Court to order release of data to a private party requestor.

    If the law does require disclosure of older data, I’d expect private institutions to band together and fight it to the Supreme Court.

    The state laws are generally mirrors of the fed law. They only apply to state agencies. Harvard is private, so unless there is some tie-in to the state re: the documents of interest, Mass FOIA is likely inapplicable to Harvard.

  60. Reid
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre says “why don’t you email your own congressman rather than Barton and Inhofe who are stereotyped?”

    Unfortunately, my Congressman where I live in upstate NY is Maurice Hinchey. He makes Al Gore seem like a moderate centrist in comparison. The reason I chose Imhofe and Barton is that they are receptive to skeptical opinions and are on the proper committees.

    I have drafted a letter that I will send tomorrow via snail mail as per Mark T. suggestion. If anyone has any input about changes it would be appreciated. I learned years ago after writing heated letter-to-the-editor to sleep on public comments. My writing style ain’t good but the point gets across. Letter below:

    I am writing to inform you that the United Nations ‘€” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC) is denying open access to the expert opinions of the 2,500 scientists who worked on the recently released Fourth Assessment Report.

    According to the UN-IPCC, “All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years.” http://www.ipcc.ch/about/app-a.pdf

    The UN-IPCC has archived this material at Harvard University’s Litauer Library. All the archived material is in hard copy format even though it was originally submitted in electronic format. In order to view the archived material one must get permission from Harvard to use the library and then make the trip to Cambridge, MA to view the materials. Harvard claims it will make hard copies of the materials on request with a limit of 100 pages for a fee of $34 plus 40 cents per page. The problem is the contents of the archive are unknown so an information request cannot be made without first visiting the library.

    This situation was made public by Steve McIntyre of ClimateAudit.org. Mr. McIntyre is one of the 2,500 scientists who submitted expert opinions to the UN-IPCC. He cannot access the opinions of the other scientists unless he travels to Harvard from his native Toronto.

    This situation should not be allowed to continue. The UN-IPCC has the expert opinions of the 2,500 scientists in electronic format and could very easily post them on a website for any interested party in the world to see. The fact that they have made it very difficult to access this information leads one to question their motives. Since climate change is one of the most important scientific and political issues of our time it is imperative that the UN-IPCC make the expert opinions of the 2,500 scientists easily accessible to all scientists, journalists and interested world citizens.

    I urge you to demand the UN-IPCC make available the expert opinions of the 2,500 scientists on an open access website.

  61. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    #59. Jim, can you refresh me on what’s new about the new law in terms of applicability or refer me back to a prior mention? When did it come into effect?

  62. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    #61 Steve:

    I haven’t read it before, but I found the aforementioned [#57] regulation here

    I glanced at it quickly. The ‘offensive’ section appears to be section 53: Retention and Access Requirements for Records. I have excerpted some portions below.

    It appears that it requires: that records be kept by grant recipients for 3 yrs, that grant recipients transfer records to gov’t custody when requested, that recipient personnel agree to be interviewed if Qs re records come up, and that the gov’t generally can’t require the recipient to keep the results secret.

    I didn’t see anything mandating disclosure to 3rd parties, but I could have missed it. FOIA would not seem to grant a 3rd party access to a grant recipient’s records until the gov’t agency actually requested and received the records from the grant recipient.

    (a) This section sets forth requirements for record retention and access to records for awards to recipients. Federal awarding agencies shall not impose any other record retention or access requirements upon recipients.

    (d) The Federal awarding agency shall request transfer of certain records to its custody from recipients when it determines that the records possess long term retention value. However, in order to avoid duplicate recordkeeping, a Federal awarding agency may make arrangements for recipients to retain any records that are continuously needed for joint use.

    (e) The Federal awarding agency, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, have the right of timely and unrestricted access to any books, documents, papers, or other records of recipients that are pertinent to the awards, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts and copies of such documents. This right also includes timely and reasonable access to a recipient’s personnel for the purpose of interview and discussion related to such documents. The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained.

    (f) Unless required by statute, no Federal awarding agency shall place restrictions on recipients that limit public access to the records of recipients that are pertinent to an award, except when the Federal awarding agency can demonstrate that such records shall be kept confidential and would have been exempted from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) if the records had belonged to the Federal awarding agency.

  63. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    RE: #62

    Last Amendments were dated 9/30/1999 – but not effective until published in the Federal Register. Let’s be generous and say policy effective date December 2000.

  64. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    #63 This is way past 2000. #62 I was trained in FOI, that once a public entity has access to records, that FOI takes precedence once enabled/enacted. As a memeber of industry, industry fought the allowance of FOI for past violations, it was not supported. Basically, if a pubic agency has data, and the data can be dissemilated (sp) to the public, it is covered by FOIA and they still have the records

    The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained

    (no necessarily legal limitation for documents on hand. guess it is up to the agency (my assumption)). It is not three years, since by timing they just got the records. Whether or not the agency has recieved the records that Steve is asking for is a moot point. IPCC and Havard have admitted to records that could meet his request. They cannot legally refuse records that meet a legitimate request else they are in violation of law. And note that your quote excludes placing unreasonable restrictions. My post was about unreasonable restriction claims by IPCC and Havard. I think one could take Steve’s email and cram it down their collective throats. BUT third parties can get information, their ability to sue is restricted because if they can show injury(cause) THEIR POSITION IS ELEVATED. I find it funny that the regs you quote include the auditing function and I am posting this on Climate AUDIT.

  65. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Sorry had to cook dinner.

    The other point is that FOIA means that there is no third party in a very real sense. Judicial rulings may preclude this, but this is just “bad law”; and most probably be shortly reversed. FOI means there are no disenfranchised parties. An example of this is where PIRG (public interest reasearch??? group, whatever) was allowed to get information from FOI, yet be unable to sue for damages since they were technically not “hurt”. Steve as an accepted research felllow can claim “hurt”, and thus all the allowances for a legitimate requested entity apply, which means they are not complying with state, federal, and their own regulations. For those not used to regulations, if you claim, as Havard has admitted, that your entity complies, writes, publishes, or otherwise acknowledges these regulations, you are not only covered by the regulations but also by your own statements. I spent much time aguing with clients who wanted to include some general “feel good” statement. “Are you doing it”, and “Can you prove it”…both are necessary. And if they could not provide the documentation, they could be fined, prosecuted (your verb of choice). Many have found to their regret that my above argument is true.

    Steve your requests are legitimate. From my point of veiw, as a member of the regulated community, I hope you continue, if for no other reason that you are polite and considerate. Because at this point, the only conclusion I can make is that the science is not determined, and as I have stated publically, “I can’t design to a philosophy, I design to numbers”. Numbers and their proof are surely lacking, at this point. Your pursuit is admiarable (sp).

  66. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    #64, John:

    you quoted from this regulation affecting private parties who receive federal grants:

    The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained

    But my quick interpretation is that it’s the gov’ts rights of access that are retained as long as the records exist, not ours. The beginning of the subsection you quoted (e) tells us exactly who gets to look at the records, and it ain’t us:

    The Federal awarding agency, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives…

    You also noted:

    …once a public entity has access to records, that FOI takes precedence….[my bold]

    My question is, where is the public entity ? Harvard University is not a public entity. It has been a private college for over 300 years. The United Nations is not a public entity, within the meaning of FOIA. Those are the players that are being discussed here. It may be that some of the other scientists or parties that are not the center of discussion here may be applicable ‘targets’ of FOIA. It may also be that some portion of Harvard Library has agreed to become a sort of public depository for US / Mass. documents and be subject to state or federal FOIA. Absent agreement, I’ve yet to see a law that allows John Citizen to compel the involuntary disclosure of information by Jane Public, Business, inc., Private University, or Foreign Country-stan.

  67. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Yes #64 that is one of the great!?! insidiuos (sp) ?!? results of FIOA. If a government angency has a document, they must find a reason NOT to give it up. My point was how in the regs and law, how exclusive these reasons must be. PLease read the rest of the post with the belief and understanding that IPCC stated they would make the documents avaialable and IPCC is somewhat recognized as a government funded agency. See start of thread. I think I confused people about tactics for handling a problem versus the legality of a problem.

    You said

    My question is, where is the public entity

    My post was of Havard’s own admissions to the expansive nature of Federal (and from what I googled) state requirements. They take money, they are held to a standard. If they didn’t take the money, fine, but from my quote from their site, they have taken public monies (I assume, since if IPCC is private, why their title?). Taking public monies always has strings attached.

    As far as can be reasonably determined, Havard has agreed to take the job of being a curator for documents that are to be dissemilated. The post, if true, of arranging a time to reveiw, or the next post (if true) of 100 pages limit, indicate a position not stated by the IPCC regs quoted. Also, by inference indicate either FOIA does not apply, or it is not a repository according to IPCC rules, which means Havard took the money but refuses to do the work…always grounds for dismissal and loss of creditability, not a great stance for such a prestigious institute to take. I dont care what stance they take per se. But the question did IPCC meet its own requirements or not? My suggestions, I think would help clarify their position.

    made available to reviewers on request

    .

    The question is not of whether Havard is necessarilry a public entity, but that 1) they recognize the aspects of FOI 2) and have documents that could reasonably requested under FOIA. or 3) they recognize their postion of disseminating information (true if posts on this thread are real).

    .e) The Federal awarding agency, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, have the right of timely and unrestricted access to any books, documents, papers, or other records of recipients that are pertinent to the awards, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts and copies of such documents. This right also includes timely and reasonable access to a recipient’s personnel for the purpose of interview and discussion related to such documents. The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained.

    The problem for the “Federal awarding agency” and others is that once in the public domain, unless exempted by FOI regulations they must surrender the documents or face criminal (however unlikely) charges. With respect to the FOIA regs I am familiar with paragrah e). is not a limiting paragraph but an expansive paragraph. The burden is on the Federal awarding agency, not the general public.

    In this case Havard has agreed to be a repository (retained in an open archive), according to the email Steve has attributed to them,

    Martin Manning

    and IPCC. Whether it is FOIA or fullfilling being a open archive.
    This is what IPCC said:

    All written expert, and government review comments

    By defintion government reveiw comments can be legally obtained unless specifically exempted here in the US. But this is moot, the IPCC was talking of OBTAINABLE documents. The question is how can a agency potentially covered under FOIA, or their own rules, or someone who has agreed to follow certain rules that require providing documents, can refuse to give requested documents.

    You are correct about Havard being a private entity, but that does not necessarily mean the papers are, or the position they have agreed to be, are private.

    If you read further their only fig leaf is

    during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years. http://www.ipcc.ch/about/app-a.pdf

    Perhaps they wish to claim even though they just set it up 5 years have come and gone.

    57. If state law were involved, presumably it would be Colorado since IPCC WG1 is located in Boulder. I have no idea how they are financed other than it’s inconceivable that it’s not 99.99% U.S. federal funding. But what programs? what’s the budget? Good questions. I’d love to know the answer if anyone knows.

    Steve brings out an important point, just who and what is at Colorado? Who pays for it? In fact, if it could be maintained that IPCC was required to comply with FOIA and sent info to a private entitiy not required to comply with FOIA, it would just mean that each time they referred someone to the private entitiy that they were admitting to trying to circumvent or refusing to comply with a law. Not a pleasant position to take in front of a judge. I agree with Steve and think this was alluded to in Wegman’s statements, not sure, need to research. But if not publically funded, surely Wegman could have pointed out all this was “private” speculation to the Senate and everybody should ignore their statements. And Al Gore could take his Hollywood trophy and pawn it, for all it is worth.

    Good point Jim, I will research this.I thought IPCC was covered as public. But good news if not, that means that when someone tries to enact laws, we need only point out that a private group with an unknown agenda is claiming we need to do something and can’t be trusted especially if they don’t provide data, equations and anything else that is reasonable.

  68. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    #67. John, Harvard is very incidental to this. All the WG1 functionaries are in Colorado. UCAR and NOAA are more relevant than HArvard. UCAR doesn’t seem to be covered by federal FOI. IT’s a very strange beast. It seems to be funded in large part by markups on managing federal programs (especially NCAR).

  69. Posted May 24, 2007 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    Can I just say that having sought information under the OIA here in NZ a large number of times for various reasons it is very clear that there is only ever one reason why people attempt to either withold or make it difficult to obtain information and that is that they are attempting to hide something they don’t want you to see. Don’t complicate it and try to understand deeper reasons, it is just that simple. Proceed on that basis.

  70. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    #68, Steve:

    Here’s the UCAR President’s spin in Feb 2000 on the above OMB / FOIA reg and its effect on UCAR, found here:

    1.2.2 Accessibility of Federally-funded Data-Update on Circular A-110 legislation

    The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its final revisions to Circular A-110 in the October 8 Federal Register. These final revisions to Circular A-110 have been generally accepted by leaders in the scientific community, as well as by Senator Shelby (R-AL). The OMB revisions drastically reduce the impact of the original amendment, in that only data used “in developing an agency action that has the force and effect of law” may be subject to a FOIA request.

    It appears that, if what he’s reporting is correct, UCAR’s documents w/ data of interest will become suseptible to FOIA only once a fed agency uses the data to start regulating. Otherwise, no right for the public to access documents. The federal funding agencies, themselves, would probably have the right to ask for data at any time, per the arguments made above. The $64k question is what becomes discoverable for the gen’l public under FOIA if a particular graph is used to develop a regulation having force of law, the underlying raw data used to produce the graph, or merely the graph itself ?

    What does it mean for data to be used to develop a regulation having the force of law ?

    (iii) Used by the Federal Government in developing an agency action that has the force and effect of law is defined as when an agency publicly and officially cites the research findings in support of an agency action that has the force and effect of law.

    This is from a Federal Register notice of final revision that describes when FOIA is applicable:

    (d) (1) In addition, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for research data relating to published research findings produced under an award that were used by the Federal Government in developing an agency action that has the force and effect of law, the Federal awarding agency shall request, and the recipient shall provide, within a reasonable time, the research data so that they can be made available to the public through the procedures established under the FOIA. If the Federal awarding agency obtains the research data solely in response to a FOIA request, the agency may charge the requester a reasonable fee equaling the full incremental cost of obtaining the research data. This fee should reflect costs incurred by the agency, the recipient, and applicable subrecipients. This fee is in addition to any fees the agency may assess under the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)).

    So it appears the answer to the $64k question is that underlying raw data should be obtainable from NCAR / UCAR under FOIA – but the FOIA request must be made to the federal funding agency [Not to NCAR / UCAR] once a funded scientific paper is publicly and officially cited by a regulatory agency.

    I believe there’s an additional requirement that the regulation in question has to have an economic impact of at least $100 million.

    UCAR says:

    UCAR is not bound by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and thus does not disclose to suppliers what vendor won the business, or at what price. Likewise, debriefings of lost business may or may not be held, at the Contract’s Office discretion.

    NCAR’s primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation. [which is subject to FOIA - Jim]

    NCAR is an NSF Federally Funded Research and Development Center. However, NCAR/UCAR/UOP is not a federal agency and its employees are not part of the federal personnel system.

    Approximately 95% of funding comes from the federal government

  71. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    Jim, I agree. I have not been able to find anything that would compel them as far as state or Federal requirements indicate.

    Secretary-General reaffirms freedom of information bedrock principle’,

    From the UN site. There is a Section 631 (VII) that reaffirms “that freedom of information is a fundamental human right and is the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated” I was unable to find a better source…this is listed as part of the UN’s future work, and is from December 1952.

    Perhaps Steve should direct his attention to IPCC through the UN. I suspect that the IPCC policy is due to they are WMO and UNEP established. FOI is implemented at UNEP as guideline 41(j)

    http://www.unep.org/dec/onlinemanual/Enforcement/

    InstitutionalFrameworks/PublicAccesstoInformation
    /tabid/91/Default.aspx

    It appears that UNEP is an endorser of FOI. IPCC may be required by UNEP to follow FOI guideleines. I am not familiar enough with UN or UNEP guidelines to state the best way to address the IPCC issue. However, if the UN and UNEP state they support something such as FOI, they are almost certainly required from an institutional point of veiw to enforce it on themselves. Perhaps Steve should contact UNEP for their official policy and how they enforce it.

    iii) Used by the Federal Government in developing an agency action that has the force and effect of law is defined as when an agency publicly and officially cites the research findings in support of an agency action that has the force and effect of law.

    Would this mean in that the Supreme court who told the EPA that they did have authority to regulate car mileage due to its pollution; that if the Supreme court quoted in general or specific works of climatology, they now come under iii if EPA does regulate car mileage?

  72. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    This article May 7, 2007 doesn’t suggest that WMO is a FOI candidate. A government official says:

    “At the moment if member states really try, they can get access to documents, but it’s not in the basic rules of the WMO that they should have access. It’s quite a strange situation,” he said.

    The article describes WMO as rocked by corruption scandals:

    Last week the WMO’s chief auditor, who was sacked in November last year, launched criminal proceedings in New York alleging corruption over the election of secretary-general Michel Jarraud in 2003. On Sunday the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper revealed that Geneva’s public prosecutor had launched a separate investigation into allegations of fraud and vote-rigging concerning the election. Jarraud has strongly denied any wrongdoing. The investigation is said to be linked to an earlier Swiss probe into allegations that SFr4.3 million ($3.6 million) was embezzled by a Sudanese employee at the WMO.

  73. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    True about WMO, but the UN endorses FOI and UNEP has its guidelines. It would be considered appropriate for WMO as well which appears to be where the Swiss are heading. From UNEP guideline 41(j):

    in accordance with national and international laws concerning access, transparency and appropriate handling of confidential or protected information. Empowering the citizens and NGOs with information as recommended, and involving them in decision process expands the knowledge base and resources for developing laws and policies, as well as improving compliance, implementations and enforcement of these laws.

    Perhaps IPCC is in violation of international law. or the UNEP’s regulations concerning a funded agency of UNEP. I have been looking for something along these lines but only found 41(j).
    UNEP lists IPCC as a partner. UN has the AARHUS Convention

    Rights-based approach: The Convention adopts a rights-based approach. Article 1, setting out the objective of the Convention, requires Parties to guarantee rights of access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

    http://www.unece.org/env/pp/documents/cep43e.pdf

    Article 2 1., 2. (a), (b), (c). Article 4 has some interesting conditions such as (b) (to provide information 4.1) in the form requested unless; (i) it is reasonable for the public authority to make it available in another form. Their definition of what is a public body is quite broad. But considering it was for Europe and appears to be voluntary, UNEP may be exempt.

    Perhaps it should be pointed out to UNEP that a partner of a UN program is not complying with the Aarhus Convention.

    Reading all these suggestions and findings about how environmental and even climate changes are supposed to be discussed with engineers, politicians, and a host of other people per UNEP, that the UN endorses access, I think IPCC is headed for a political train wreck if they don’t provide the data reasonably, especially here in the States. A good number of Americans and their Congressional representatives don’t like the UN and particularly don’t like the hypocrisy and graft that seems to be ongoing. I wonder if the most appropraite path for Steve to take would be to go through Canada’s UN rep site and ask them why is a partner allowed to circumvent the Aarhus Convention. They might be able to direct Steve to a form, a site, or a regulation, that could mount some real pressure on IPCC or UNEP to make sure that any of the IPCC data, remarks, conclusions, etc., can be readily and easily obtained.

  74. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    #73. It’s too early to ask Canada’s UN site about circumvention. I need to make a very precise request referring to a specific policy somewhere. I’ve never understood why climate scientists get involved in these train wrecks about providing data (and comments in this case).

  75. Matthew Drabik
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    RE: FOIA (US Govt only)

    Steve, long time listener, first time caller. Love your site.

    I am a Contracts Manager for a defense contractor and I have some familiarity with FOIA (US federal government version only). If you want to employ FOIA to see the comments that are being archived at Harvard, you need to know how Harvard is being compensated for maintaining that archive. If they are being paid directly by a federal agency, it is to that agency that the FOIA request needs to be addressed.

    Without knowing who is paying for that archive, or how the comments were transferred to the archive (e.g. directly from IPCC or through a federal agency, in hardcopy or electronic format, etc.) drafting an effective FOIA request can be like playing darts while blindfolded.

    The text of FOIA can be found here:

    http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/foiastat.htm

  76. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    #75. folks, the snail data in the Harvard archive was collated by the IPCC WG1 Technical Services Unit in Boulder CO, whose website is http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/ . The chair of WG1 is Susan Solomon of the NOAA Aeronomy Lab; the director of the TSU is Martin Manning of the NOAA Aeronomy Lab. Both use email addresses ending in al.noaa.gov . UCAR is not subject to federal FOI, although 95% of its funding is federal, but NOAA is. The review comments have presumably been emailed to AR4 chapter authors in digital form. Authors are listed for each chapter (AR4 is here http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html ). Chapter authors work for a variety of institutions in various countries. Briffa and Jones work at CRU/UEA where we’ve had some UK FOI experience.

    It would be fun to send a request from India or other 3rd world country so if there’s anyone interested in this story from India, let me know.

  77. jae
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    The review comments have presumably been emailed to AR4 chapter authors in digital form. Authors are listed for each chapter (AR4 is here http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html ).

    If this is true, there is no reason you should not be able to obtain the comments you seek. The longer these folks stall, the poorer their new breed of “science” appears from the outside.

  78. Gerald Browning
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    Steve M. (#76),

    Has anyone attempted to discover how many of the authors and reviewers of the AR4 are receiving funding or grants to do research in climate change (including civil service or government employees that work in climate change) that would be seriously impacted if the cause is not anthropogenic? Looking briefly at the list, I saw very few mathematicians, PDE analysts, or numerical analysts who evidently have better things to do?

    Jerry

  79. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    James Annan http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/ writes of his own identical experience with IPCC. He condemns their “pettifogging” in similar terms to me and calls on other climate scientists to protest their behavior.

  80. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    As a bush lawyer, I would question the legality of the IPCC handing these documents to a private institution like Harvard. This is for the very reason that bodies like Harvard can purposely block the information flow by the in-house rules of access. Under property rights, surely the rights to these documents do not reside with Harvard, they remain with IPCC (whomever that might be). It follows that a refusal by the IPCC to provide its own access (diverting inquiries to Harvard) is contrary to its own statements and it is being misleading. Also, Harvard is not being an open archive as the IPCC stated would be used for document storage/access.

    I have waded through the above thread and remain puzzled about the actual legal entity that calls itself the IPCC. Can it sue and be sued? Is it incorporated? If so, where? Is there a patient lawyer who could spell the answers out in relatively inarguable terms?

    I ask because I have seen similar episodes in Australia and I seek ways to combat them. Australia, for example, went on a “Treaty spree” some years ago and committed the country to about a new “treaty” every week for a period of years. Many of these were with hard-to-define groups – groups with attributes like the UN and IPCC. Most people including the former Chief Justice of the High Court did not even know about them until told at a public interest group meeting.

    Sorry that this is an ask and not a give.

    Thanks Geoff

  81. Reid
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    Since the IPCC is part of the UN they may have diplomatic immunity to any legal action. I don’t think the legal route will produce results. Publicising the situation will hopefully help. If a major news outlet reports on the situation it will prove embarassing to the IPCC. If the situation is raised in a Congressional hearing it will help.

    The IPCC will claim they are protecting the 2,500 scientists by not allowing open public access. Protecting them from ExxonMobil hired thugs, campus Republicans, etc.

  82. Posted May 26, 2007 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if Real Climate will make a stand on this issue. They are “real” scientists after all.

  83. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Re: #81

    Since the IPCC is part of the UN they may have diplomatic immunity to any legal action. I don’t think the legal route will produce results. Publicising the situation will hopefully help. If a major news outlet reports on the situation it will prove embarassing to the IPCC. If the situation is raised in a Congressional hearing it will help.

    I agree that “official” organizational rules are either worded sufficiently vague or interpreted so that one can be rather arbitrarily excluded from most data access — and particularly so when your purposes in seeking that data are from the POV of a small minority. Jim Edwards’ comments on the FOIA would appear to make its worth depend on interpretations and arbitrariness and in the end appear to be implemented into law more for political cover than making government dealings more transparent.

    I would suggest that if Steve M’s complaint was for the lack of information concerning a popular environmental issue, his chances of success would increase many fold. Given the consensus surrounding the climate issue, I see little hope for Steve M succeeding in many of his pursuits for information. On the other hand, I hope he continues, as it provides an object lesson in the bureaucracy and hypocrisy as the system now operates and contains his critics who would say, “Well, you never tried”. It gives those of us more skeptical viewers of the situation insights into why we should be skeptical. It has helped in getting the attention of NAS (sort of) and Wegman (definitely). The question still open is how much attention has been widely afforded to what NAS (with reasonable interpretations) and Wegman have said on this matter.

  84. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    Re: #54

    BTW don’t assume that the IPCC is suppressing stadiums of scientists arguing against AGW or that the review comments will show great divides or lack of consensus among IPCC reviewers. The comments to chapter 6 of the First Order Draft weren’t like that and there is a consensus among climate scientists. If I had a big policy making job, I would be guided by that consensus.

    I think most who participate here would agree that the scientists, involved with the IPCC, have an overwhelming consensus that (1) AGW exists to some extend or other, and (2) more importantly, that it could potentially (with various degrees of uncertainty) create future problems. When you combine these sincerely felt considerations with what I think is a very important part of a large majority of these scientists’ political thought processes being that actions for mitigation of AGW will be relatively painless, without significant unintended consequences and of value even if the degree of AGW has been overestimated, you get the resulting political orientation of the IPCC. In my view that orientation is primarily interested in presenting information in a manner that will quickly lead to the placement of rather severe AGW mitigating processes.

    One may in the past have had the view of the prototypical scientist as being rather naïve or even uninterested in things political. The IPCC has shown me that that is certainly not the case with these scientists or at least those scientists involved in the marketing of a consensus with terms such as likely, very likely, etc. The marketing campaign has had to jump the level of concern from mere changes in temperatures to some rather alarming estimates of future sea level increases, droughts, floods, hurricane intensities and frequencies, plant and animal extinctions, hunger and disease.

    I would assume that the further some scientists push the extreme measures marketing approach that the more push back they may receive from scientists who are less prepared for a full political campaign, however, an appearance of a consensus on what the IPCC reports is very critical to the campaign that’s purpose is initiating some real and severe mitigating actions. Whether by direct or passive interjection, it certainly would not take a stretch to surmise that the IPCC is sufficiently astute politically to slow the process for disseminating review information to the public. If making public the review process (or the provision of transparency) would better sell the IPCC policy recommendations, I am quite certain the process would have been handled much more seriously and carried out much more efficiently.

  85. fFreddy
    Posted May 27, 2007 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #54, Steve McIntyre

    BTW don’t assume that the IPCC is suppressing stadiums of scientists arguing against AGW or that the review comments will show great divides or lack of consensus among IPCC reviewers. The comments to chapter 6 of the First Order Draft weren’t like that and there is a consensus among climate scientists.

    How many are presenting thoroughly equivocal data with a “this is consistent with AGW” tacked on the end ? How much of the consensus is people agreeing with the consistency, and not actively looking for alternatives ?
    I speak English as my native language, which is consistent with my being an American born and bred. But, in fact, I’m an Englishman.
    “A is consistent with B” only means “A does not disprove B”; it does not mean “A proves B”. The constant reassignation of grey to white or black according to rhetorical need is highly pernicious.

  86. Posted May 27, 2007 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    I have just heard of a small breach in the dam of IPCC data secrecy.
    NIWA which is the climate Org in New Zealand has apparently just decided to provide free online data to anyone who registers from July.
    Heard this from the NZ Climate Science Coalition people.
    BoP must be Bay of Plenty Times.

  87. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    On May 24, I wrote to Geo Clark of Harvard as follows:

    I responded to IPCC that these terms are not satisfactory for me. I requested these review comments on January 24, 2007 during the review process and should have received the review comments then without incurring any copying expense, having to hire a research assistant or having to try to guess at which 100 pages to have copied.

    I wrote to IPCC that their principles require them to have an “open and transparent” process and this system does not meet those standards. I’ve suggested that they should put the review comments online, or, if they are unwilling to do that, they should provide them to me in the digital form that they were provided to authors.

    I hope that IPCC comes to their senses and sees that these are good suggestions and plan to allow them time to consider these suggestions. In the event that they decide to be obstructive, I’ll think about what to do at that point. If you have any constructive suggestions, I’d appreciate them.

    By the way, can you explain to me how the 100 page copying limitation was determined?

    On May 25, George Clark of Harvard wrote:

    I’m sorry that you are finding the process frustrating. The 100-page copy limit is one of long-standing practice in the Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives. In fact, it is unusual for us to provide copies at all to patrons who do not visit in person. We do not hold copyright to most of our materials and do not have the resources to provide unlimited copies or the research service to determine which parts of the collection would be of interest to users. These types of restrictions are by no means unusual in scholarly archives. However, if you find this a hardship, I would be willing to make an exception in this instance and work with you to provide copies of a reasonable number of pages over our limit at the rate quoted. Please let me know if you would like to proceed, and we can get started. I’ll need to fax you the request form and look in more detail at your request to figure out what to copy.

    On May 29, Martin Manning OF IPCC wrote:

    It appears that the Harvard archive library has some constraints on how it can provide copies of WG I review comments that were not anticipated. Also they are involved in a physical relocation of their holdings.

    I will look into other options that the Technical Support Unit may have for providing copies of these comments and get back to you shortly.

    Today George Clark of Harvard wrote:

    There are 1834 pages of expert and government review comments on the second order draft.

    At our copy rate, that would be $34 + $733.60 in page charges, or $767.60 total. If that amount is a hardship, I can cut the page charge in half to $366.80 or $400.80 total.

    If the 1834 pages seem like more than you want to go through, perhaps we could talk in about your specific research needs in more detail and we can figure a way to get the total page amount down to something more manageable.

    I don’t want deadwood copy. This could be emailed to me in the form that I want with a click of a mouse. Plus I don’t see why I should have to pay $400.80 for something that can be sent in one second with the click of a mouse. (I wonder if that includes sales taxes and shipping and handling.) They sure are twisting themselves into pretzels to avoid providing a digital version.

  88. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    RE: #84 – There was a time when at least a slim majority of scientists sought to be associated with “big science” and to an extent, the military-space-industrial complex. I sensed a crushing change in this during the 1980s, as the generation born in the 1920s moved out of the system, to be replaced by those born in the 40s and 50s. The new group seem to have a majority who not only do not want to have anything to do with “big science” and the military-space-industrial complex, but actually, actively seek to fight against both.

  89. Reid
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    1834 pages of comment from 2,500 scientists seems small. It seems to indicate that a large number of the 2,500 scientists didn’t comment or involve themselves in a debate.

    I wonder if the deadwood copy has restrictions on copying and distribution on the web?

  90. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    I presume that Harvard received a “hard copy” only??

  91. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    #90. Yes. I wrote back to Clark as follows:

    Dear Dr Clark,

    While I appreciate your offer, I am now puzzled. Earlier you said that the limit of 100 pages existed because of copyright issues and now you have kindly offered to copy all 1834 pages for a reduced fee. I certainly wouldn’t want you to be providing copies to me in breach of any copyright and could you elucidate for me why you are now able to offer this service.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

  92. jae
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    Only 1834 pages of comments for such a comprehensive report? It seems that many of the scientists were paying much attention. It is really hard to believe that in the year 2007 IPPC did not give Harvard an electronic version. Those “greenies” are killing lots of trees.

  93. Boris
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    So are the IPCC sicentists still cunning? Apparently they devised this whole scheme to make Harvard library a cool 400 bucks gross.

  94. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    #93. Boris, no one suggested that that’s the reason for the scheme. My objections are shared by such unlikely allies as William Connolley and James Annan. My own surmise, which seems to be shared by Connolley and Annan, is that they were trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to obtain copies of the review comments, while remaining technically compliant with formal IPCC rules, and, in particular, trying to avoid anyone having a copy of a digital version of the comments.

  95. jae
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Boris, how can anybody, especially scientists, have any respect for the IPPC? They release the summary three months before the report and admit they would adjust the report to fit the summary. They essentially ignore all the literature that contradicts the CO2 hypothesis (like the Solar stuff). Now this game. I see no reason the information would not be available in elecronic format.

  96. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    So are the IPCC sicentists still cunning? Apparently they devised this whole scheme to make Harvard library a cool 400 bucks gross.

    Boris, comments like this one simply reflect on your opinion, in general, of this blog which most here are well aware, but the important question that you should attempt to answer is whether the IPCC is truly doing a reasonable job of efficiently getting the comments out to the public and should its efforts, in light of the importance it places on the subject and subject matter and informing the public, have been significantly more diligent?

  97. Boris
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    but the important question that you should attempt to answer is whether the IPCC is truly doing a reasonable job of efficiently getting the comments out to the public

    Ken, do you honestly think the best way to improve the IPCC is to call them “cunning” and decide that they must be hiding somehting?

    I don’t know why the IPCC doens’t provide electronic versions. Perhaps it doesn’t want to bother with throwing up and maintaining an archive. Perhaps they are hiding a huge conspiracy in climate science. I know if I were hiding something, I would keep it at the Harvard library.

  98. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    re 97

    I know if I were hiding something, I would keep it at the Harvard library.

    The best way to hide a book would be to take it to a major library like Harvard and simply plavce it on one of eh shelves in the stacks. With millions of volumes to sort though, how would anybody find it. This is a well=known trick. it is the reason that libraries will not allow patrons to restock shelves. If a book at Harvard is mis-shelved, it will never be found.

  99. Reid
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    Boris says “Perhaps they are hiding a huge conspiracy in climate science.”

    They are hiding that there is no consensus. A significant portion of the 2,500 scientists don’t agree with the scientific report. It also now appears a significant portion of the 2,500 were not seriously involved in debating the report but only lent their names to a cause.

  100. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 2, 2007 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Boris, in comment #97, I find you continue to avoid answering the big question of public availability of AR4 comments posed by Steve M by nit picking the phraseology used and inferring a conspiratorial source for the concern.

    Your shrugging off of the rather apparent capricious handling of these comments by the IPCC makes me wonder what you think of the work that the IPCC is attempting to do. Is it important to you and to the public in general? If it is important, is it important that the comments be efficiently made available and viewed by the public as part of IPCC effort? Do you feel that by not providing a public electronic archive for the comments the IPCC diminishes the seriousness that they themselves attach to their function?

  101. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    From ABC news. Apparently the IPCC and Hansen seem to think trees help cause globally warming. Perhaps this is what they are trying to hide. LOL.

    As the tipping points pass, “there is an acceleration, potentially uncontrollable, of emissions of vast natural stores of greenhouse gas,” according to Hansen, who reviewed the study for ABC News today.

    Hansen explains that dangerous feedback loops are being tracked in various regions of the planet.

    Many studies have reported feedback loops already observed in thawing tundra, seabeds and drying forests.

    Hansen also points out that dark ‘€” and therefore heat-absorbing ‘€” forests are now expanding toward the Arctic, replacing lighter-colored areas such as tundra and snow cover.

    The NASA research also reasserts the importance of the disappearing Arctic sea ice and snow, whose reflectivity has helped cool the planet by bouncing warm sunlight straight back into space.

    The disappearance of that bright sea ice and snow is uncovering more and more dark water and bare ground ‘€” creating another dangerous feedback loop.

  102. Jan Pompe
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    #101 John

    The NASA research also reasserts the importance of the disappearing Arctic sea ice and snow

    Well we expect that don’t we summer is coming in the meantime down south it’s cooling and Anarctic ice is expanding and I refuse to go camping until September.

    Seriously though when I look at the temperature charts Southern Hemisphere temperatures are falling and that is never mentioned.

  103. Boris
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Ken,

    I agree that the IPCC should provide electronic copies of these comments. I do not agree that they neglected to do so to hide something.

    As to inferring that Steve was talking about a conspiracy, I did not infer it, I read it:

    Their selection of a snail archive requiring a personal visit can surely have no other purpose than to comply with the letter of IPCC policy while making access as onerous as possible. Martin Manning and Susan Solomon must be very proud of themselves for this manouevre.

    According to Steve M, Susan Solomon and Martin Manning not only planned to poorly distribute the comments, once they had done so, they sipped margaritas in celebration. Is it any wonder that this blog then attracts folks who will claim that the CO2 increase isn’t caused by humans?

    The language that Steve and others have chosen to use does nothing other than stir up nonsense conspiracy theories like Reid’s above.

  104. Reid
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    It appears the IPCC has not yet produced a list of the 2,500 scientists. Drudge has posted an article by the Financial Post; http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=c47c1209-233b-412c-b6d1-5c755457a8af

    excerpt:
    “What of the one claim that we hear over and over again, that 2,000 or 2,500 of the world’s top scientists endorse the IPCC position? I asked the IPCC for their names, to gauge their views. “The 2,500 or so scientists you are referring to are reviewers from countries all over the world,” the IPCC Secretariat responded. “The list with their names and contacts will be attached to future IPCC publications, which will hopefully be on-line in the second half of 2007.”

  105. Reid
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Re #103 Boris says “The language that Steve and others have chosen to use does nothing other than stir up nonsense conspiracy theories like Reid’s above.”

    Conspiracies are by definition hidden from view. The IPCC is openly obstructing access to both who the scientists are and what their views are. You don’t have to be a public relations genius to understand the actions of the IPCC. Eventually all the information will be made readily available. By then the IPCC 4AR will be old news not worthy of Big Media coverage. When the IPCC eventually gets confronted with their politicized science their answer will be that it will be addressed in 5AR. And the IPCC will claim it needs much more money to address the issue of data accessability.

  106. S. Hales
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    Boris in 103 you say

    Is it any wonder that this blog then attracts folks who will claim that the CO2 increase isn’t caused by humans?

    Will you please point to actual posts where this claim is asserted by regular posters. I await your response.

    As to the topic here of deliberate obfuscation by the IPCC of possible dissent, it is clear that there was a procedure created to handle all reviewer comments in a paper archive, which runs counter to other IPCC actions of providing digital copies of results. The decision making process to create the paper archive is obscured from our view but the results of that decision are clear. This bureaucratic kerfuffle has a curious air about it, how can 1800 pages be treated so differently and archaicly in our modern world? It is as if the IPCC is acting as some nefarious Kingsfield to the Hart’s of the world sneaking a peak in the locked archives in the dead of night. For pity’s sake this is not 1973. :)

  107. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    #103

    The IPCC as part of the UN is supposed to have open access. In fact, the UN claims this is a fundamental human right: to be able to obtain information in order to make good and reasoned choices. The question begs itself to be asked: if the UN and its chartered organizations are supposed to be open, how does, and what purpose does it serve for IPCC NOT to follow its parent’s guidelines; and open data and procedures to the scientific community, especially the sceptics? As Einstein remarked to the reporter who asked how he felt about 200 Nazi scientists working to prove him wrong, he said “It only takes one.” Apparently for IPCC, it is better not to let just one sceptic veiw all the raw data and procedures than 2500(?) who have.

  108. Boris
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Will you please point to actual posts where this claim is asserted by regular posters. I await your response.

    It was either MarkT or MarkW or possibly both on a thread a few months back. To their credit, sometimes bender and Steve chime in in correction. I don’t think they did that time.

    I agree paper archives are stupid in this day and age–and costly. James Amman talks about receiving a huge mess of papers from the IPCC on his blog.

  109. MarkW
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Boris,

    As usual, you either lie, or your memory is extremely faulty.
    I never said such a thing, and I really doubt MarkT did either.

  110. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    I agree paper archives are stupid in this day and age’€”and costly. James Amman talks about receiving a huge mess of papers from the IPCC on his blog.

    Boris, I help you make the leap in logic that you are apparently hesitant to make: Paper archives are not (cannot be) stupid, but the organizations that use them can be. In this case that would be the IPCC. Your attribution of stupidity to an inanimate object, I think shows to the extent you will go to avoid criticizing or commenting on the IPCC failure to efficiently make the comments public.

    I will pose one more question to you in my attempt to get your attention away from how the criticism of the IPCC actions were phrased here: Does the IPCC have a significant political mission in selling a policy to world governments for mitigating AGW and if you agree that that is the case would you also grant that political agents from the dawn of their being have done their selling without apparent deference to dissenting views or making major efforts to get those views exposed to the public?

  111. S. Hales
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    109 MarkW, But Boris is making progress he’s beginning to see that purposely creating a paper archive in today’s world is stupid. At least he is recognizing that the IPCC has been stupid. As the argument progresses we can assess whether this claim of stupidity makes any sense considering the high IQs of the people involved. If it cannot be claimed that the IPCC decision makers unwittingly committed a stupid act then we must explore alternative explanations.

    We have certain facts in evidence:

    1. The IPCC WG1 report and SPM. All digital format and publically accessible
    2. The reviewers comments in digital format not publically accessible in digital format paper accessible only at one location in a permanent archive.
    3. The reviewers comments serve as a kind of audit trail for the decision making of the final scientific content of WG1.
    4. Decision to provide reviewers comments only in paper format effectively severs the audit trail from the report.
    5. Difficult to independently evaluate WG1’s work product to determine if it represents consensus or bias without much special effort.

    The decision making process of the IPCC obviously included a conscious decision to sever the audit trail from the work product. What then are the motivations to do so? Perhaps the content of the reviewer comments is politically damaging. Perhaps it exposes a non or weak consensus. Perhaps it puts the problem of climate change in a different perspective. Perhaps it is supportive of the final product. Whatever the nature of the reviewer comments the fact remains that they are effectively inaccessible. My only conclusion is that the reviewer comments, if widely known, would create problems for the IPCC and the governments involved.

  112. Boris
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Your attribution of stupidity to an inanimate object, I think shows to the extent you will go to avoid criticizing or commenting on the IPCC failure to efficiently make the comments public.

    This is a good example of the problem here. When I say paper archives are stupid, I’m saying they are a stupid idea. No one who speaks English as a primary language could believe that I was acually refering to the intelectual ability of the archives themselves. Yes, the IPCC was stupid and careless for not properly arhciving the comments.

    As for your second ‘graph, I don’t deny that the IPCC has motives. The other side has motives, too. And what’s going to happen with the comments when they are made public? Someone from the CEI or CATO will quote mine them to death, exagerating doubt and uncertainty for their own political purposes. I don’t know if the members of the IPCC made the archive difficult to obtain for that reason, but it’s another possibility.

  113. Boris
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    Boris,

    As usual, you either lie, or your memory is extremely faulty.
    I never said such a thing, and I really doubt MarkT did either.

    Well, it was mostly Mark T, but you did say this:

    I’m guessing that you are unaware that warming waters release CO2. This runs counter to your claim that it is completely proven that 100% of new CO2 is produced by man.

    So I guess you were arguing that the CO2 increase isn’t 100% manmade. That’s less wrong, I suppose.

    The whole discussion is here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=640

  114. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    #113. Boris (And others), will you please take this discussion about CO2 increase to another thread. It has nothing to do with IPCC refusal to make review comments available in a reasonable way.

  115. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Yes, the IPCC was stupid and careless for not properly arhciving the comments.

    Boris, thanks for using the word stupid and IPCC in the same sentence and answering my question.

  116. Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    As a non scientist I find your discussion on the non availability of information from the IPCC quite amusing. Science is a field where discussion, argument, ideas, theories, debate and most importantly openess are a given and indeed are the very reason why science progresses. For the IPCC to institute policies, neh, even one policy, which prevents this is going to stifle, not the debate, but the science itself. That those scientists involved in the IPCC are not aware of this situation is not credible. Therefore the clear intention is to stifle the science. The existence of blogs like this and thousands of others as well as discussions in newspapers, magazines etc etc cannot be controlled by the IPCC but they can stifle and limit the science itself by making the availability of information, data etc difficult and by happily stating that they cannot control the availability of data from scientists when at the stroke of a pen they could make everything available. It is clearly a very consious decision not to do this.

    Skeptisism is an extremely important part of science and yet we now find the word being used, particularly by non scientists, as a derogitary phrase which perhaps demonstrates the ignorance of those using it in an improper way when relating it to scientific debate. When politicians claim “the science is settled” then we know it is not science speaking. The question is not are they hiding something but why? The question of open scientific debate is not one that should be limited to climate, for if the IPCC continue to get away with and promote secrecy the question for all scientists must be which part of science will be next to be taken over by the consenus?

    The many institutions that appear to support the IPCC view by their silence are doing a diservice to those they purport to represent for they too are being used to support a stance which, if taken in bygone years, would have almost certainly resulted in their own demise. The only way that science can be politicised is if scientists, whatever their pursausion, allow that to happen. By justifying their decision in order to win the battle over AGW is a dangerous precident for the politicians will not lightly let go of the power they have assumed in the present debate.

  117. Angela
    Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    This is the second important failing of the IPCC this year. In a recent article by Prof. Bob Carter he noted that the global average warming data the IPCC rely on, the IPCC will not release the raw data from which it was calculated.

    Given the importance of the IPCC claims, this is outrageous. Independent verification goes to the heart of scientific credibility.

    Even the authors of least important scientific papers make available primary materials and data used to generate the findings.

    Indeed, with the advent of the internet and large databases, raw data are typically archived on servers as “supplementary materials, available for public scrutiny.

    The IPCC omission in this regard is very surprising.

  118. Posted Jun 3, 2007 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    You miss the point Angela. It is not surprising for it is intentional. As I said previously the IPCC with the stroke of a pen could insist that all data used in any research quoted by the IPCC must be made available. It would not be difficult and therefore it is deliberate. Any scientist who supports the IPCC on this, irrespective of their stance on AGW should be up in arms. Are you telling me that if the decision were the opposite, ie: the IPCC did not support AGW and the pro side could not obtain data the IPCC had used to support that stance, they would be happy with that? The argument should not be about the pro’s and con’s of AGW but about the availability of data and information. Do not delude yourself for one moment by thinking that the IPCC are just muddled or confused over this issue. They are fully aware that no proper open scientific debate can take place whilst so much data etc is kept secret. Why keep it secret? Not because they know they are wrong but because they are not sure they are right and politicians don’t like “we are not sure”. The use of words like “likely” by the IPCC are not used by accident. They are the words they used to pursuade politicians to support them because in all honesty they could not say deffinitely that they knew but a politician would ask “well is it likely?” to which the IPCC said “yes”.

  119. Boris
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    Ken,

    No problem. Now if someone here would use the word stupid along with Monckton, Michaels, the CEI, CATO, Swindle…

  120. MarkW
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    BOris,

    Why would anyone want to do that?
    Just because these guys have thrown serious doubt onto your pet theory, does not prove them wrong, much less stupid.

  121. Nicholas
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    Well, it’s pretty obvious that some stupid mistakes were made in the filming of Swindle. Like, for example, plotting at least one graph (and IIRC actually two) wrong.

    IMO, though, the most stupid thing they did was not make it clear when they were talking about CO2 fluxes, that although most CO2 emitted in a given year is natural in origin, that doesn’t necessarily mean that if humans affect that balance in a small way, it can’t built up. I don’t think they actually lied, but rather, said things in a way that’s easy to misinterpret, the end result being such events as Carl Wunsch (sp?) being upset about his involvement. If they had been more clear on that topic, or skipped it altogether, it would not be such a great distraction for people who want to attack it to grab onto and ignore the real and much more substantive issues discussed.

    So, yeah, they made some stupid mistakes. I do think, however, that they made a far stronger attempt at telling the truth than the conveniently named An Inconvenient Truth. That section where they show a clip from AIT then critique it was shocking to me. I had never see AIT and had no idea that it made such a dubious claim about the ice core record.

  122. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    #119,120,121. Boris and others, if you want to discuss Monckton etc, please do so on an appropriate thread. One more time – please comment on this thread on IPCC archiving.

  123. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Maybe someone can explain copyright rules to me. Originally George Clark of Harvard said that he could only make 100 pages available because of copyright rules. Then he said that he could make all 1834 pages available (for over US$400). I asked him why he was now able to do so, when he wasn’t previously as follows:

    Dear Dr Clark,

    While I appreciate your offer, I am now puzzled. Earlier you said that
    the limit of 100 pages existed because of copyright issues and now you
    have kindly offered to copy all 1834 pages for a reduced fee. I
    certainly wouldn’t want you to be providing copies to me in breach of
    any copyright and could you elucidate for me why you are now able to
    offer this service.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    He replied as follows:

    It is not a standard practice but I am trying my best to meet your needs.

    This makes no sense to me as an explanation and I wrote back:

    You didn’t answer my question.

    Previously you said that copying more than 100 pages was not permissible under copyright regulations. Now you say that you can copy and make available all 1834 pages. I understand that you’re trying to be helpful, but I presume that you were trying to be helpful previously, when you said that this wasn’t possible. What’s happened in the mean time? Has the copyright holder waived their copyright? If so, could you provide some documentation of this? Otherwise what authority do you have to now copy all 1834 pages available?

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    Maybe one of our lawyer readers can clarify something for me. Where did the previous 100 page restriction arise? Is that just a library policy for their own operating convenience, with the prior explanation linking it to copyright being a charade?

    If IPCC gave him permission to copy all 1834 pages and send them to me, would that constitute a waiver of copyright? If the IPCC did not give him explicit permission, would Clark’s new offer be a violation of copyright regulations? If so, why would Clark do so now?

  124. Hans Erren
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    $400 for 1834 pages should pay generously for all copyright issues.
    Typically a book of 200 pages costs $20. So the fee is outrageous in the first place.

  125. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    #124. I’m puzzled by the “copyright” issue as it applies to IPCC review comments. Copyright exists to protect novelists and recording authors, etc. who are for-profit. Obviously IPCC should adopt wikipedia “copyleft” policies. Also does the HArvard library return part of the copying fees to IPCC? If so, I wonder what proportion? I doubt that there’s any such agreement in place. I’m puzzled as to whether the Harvard library is free-lancing or is working with IPCC in this offer. Clark was not very forthcoming.

  126. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Re: #119

    Boris, as Steve M noted above, this thread is a discussion of the IPCC archiving policies as it relates to the reviewers’ comments. I personally appreciate Steve’s efforts to afford us blog participants an inside view of what transpires in these matters. It is what makes a blog more penetrating into the human equation than, the also necessary, but limited in this aspect, reading and discussion of scientific publications. The phrasing used by Steve M is a reflection on his views of the process and his way, I assume, of putting some personal touches on his communications.

    I am a skeptic in general and in my judgment there is much uncertainty in many of the theories connected to GW be it big A, medium A, little A, or no A. I freely admit that I come to these discussions with significantly less faith in the currently proposed mitigating actions working without major unintended consequences than most of the participants of the discussion here and elsewhere. I usually do not discuss the items of which I am skeptical that come from the less influential sources such as “Inconvenient Truth” and some of the solar related theories presented here (and obviously not endorsed by Steve M).

    I do, however, see the IPCC and their AR4 report as the single most influential group and document on climate change and thus judge that the importance of its critiques must be placed a level or two above those of other individuals and groups involved in the discussion. Would you agree?

  127. jae
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    I do, however, see the IPCC and their AR4 report as the single most influential group and document on climate change and thus judge that the importance of its critiques must be placed a level or two above those of other individuals and groups involved in the discussion. Would you agree?

    No.

  128. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

    Re:#125
    Since the documents in question are presumably solely composed of reviewers’ comments, does the IPCC actually hold any copyright to them? Was there any legal agreement by the individual reviewers to turn over any copyright to the IPCC? Perhaps, if the comments are considered a “joint work”, you are in fact a co-owner of the copyright!
    (I’m no expert, just enjoyed reading the brief info/policy here: Carnegie Copyright Policy)

  129. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Depends upon whether or not a copyright agreement was signed as a condition of reviewer status.

    Mark

  130. Reid
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be suprised if the IPCC claimed ownership of the reviewer comments and stipulated that any copying of all or part for mass publication required written permission.

  131. Boris
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    The 100 page limit is probably a protection for Harvard library and is likely a standard for all requests. I doubt it’s a charade, as you are not supposed to walk into a library and copy a book. Ask Kinko’s to copy a book and you’ll see what I mean.

    Perhaps the IPCC has commenters waive their copyrights and Clark became aware of this? This seems a fairly minor point to me.

  132. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    The 100 page limit is probably a protection for Harvard library and is likely a standard for all requests. I doubt it’s a charade, as you are not supposed to walk into a library and copy a book. Ask Kinko’s to copy a book and you’ll see what I mean.

    If the copy problem is that obvious and straight forward, does it mean that the IPCC people must have also been aware of it?

  133. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Boris, it seems “plausible” to me that the HArvard library policy on 100 pages is based on a reasonable interpretation of copyright law. If so, then is the copying of 1834 pages a violation of both library policy and copyright law? If so, you haven’t explained why Clark would do this. If he got new information about IPCC waivers, why wouldn’t he just say so. None of this makes any sense to me. I don’t like things that don’t make sense. Maybe it’s minor, maybe it isn’t. You never know until you tug the string a little.

  134. jae
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    Main Entry: 1cunⶮing
    Pronunciation: ‘k&-ni[ng]
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English, from present participle of can know
    1 : dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (as skill or knowledge) or in attaining an end
    2 : displaying keen insight

    3 : characterized by wiliness and trickery
    4 : prettily appealing : CUTE

    We’ll see what Clark says, but I think it’s definitely #3. As is the failure to provide the information electronicall.

  135. Philip B
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    What I find surprising (to say the least) is that the exchange indicates Steve is the first person to request all the comments, with the implication that no one has even looked into the much vaunted consensus claimed for the IPCC report.

  136. Boris
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I think libraries tend to have fairly rigid policies on copyrioghts, but will relax them on a case by case basis. Don’t quote me though.

    It seems unlikely (absurd?) that the IPCC would sue Harvard library for copying all comments at the request of someone who should have access to them anyway. Perhaps in Clark’s judgement there is no threat of a lawsuit/problem–especially since the IPCC would have to prove damages.

  137. jae
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    I just can’t believe there is a legal issue here. Maybe it is just simple bureaucratic inefficiencies. Why is it so tough to get basic information in the Climate Science arena? Anyway, it is very intriguing, and I’m glad Steve M is pursuing it. Another mini-novel.

  138. Reid
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    jae says “Another mini-novel.”

    The sequel to Climate Audit, the Movie.

    Climate Audit II: the Quest for Data

  139. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    I do not think the specific details of the reasons for the inefficient public access to the AR4 review comments will essentially change a reasonable person’s judgment of the AR4’s approach, i.e. they were either willfully negligent or were coincidentally negligent due to a lack of concern for public access. Either way, the result and IPCC’s hypocrisy are the same, notwithstanding Boris’ humorous (to me) and heroic efforts to mount a defense.

  140. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    Re: #127

    Jae, while I do not agree with the IPCC approach in regards to providing information on climate change, I do see them acting as a typical political agent pushing a policy agenda. In that role, I judge their publications as more influential than other agents in this matter. Certainly they are the most quoted by the media, and scientists, for that matter. If they are not the most influential agent, who do you judge is? I could have overlooked something obvious here.

  141. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    IMHO there’s no evidence here of simple inefficiency or “negligence”. In my opinion, the arhiving of a non-digital version was intentional not negligent; if IPCC wanted to provide a digital version, they could have done so far more easily and with far less effort than it’s taking them to try to justify what they’re doing.

  142. Boris
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Ken,

    I’m not sure what I’m defending, as I have criticized the IPCC for not providing an online archive. This seems not to get through no matter how many times I say it.

    The difference is that I don’t see it as some conspiracy to hide the comments or make them as inacessible as possible. I think such talk of conspiracy is unproductive. Apparently you disagree. Fine.

  143. jae
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    140: Maybe I misread your post. I agree with you. Of course IPCC is the most influential source of information. I guess I was conflating “influential” with “factual.” So many shortcomings of the AR4 and the whole IPCC system have now come to light that I would have a hard time using it to guide my actions, if I were a policy maker.

  144. Sidviscous
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    Steve I don’t know if this is still an issue.

    But I’m willing to head over to Haaaarvvvadddd and get what I can for you.

    For accuracies sake, it’s in Cambridge not Boston. But I know everyone knew that.

  145. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    Re: 100 pp and copyrights

    I don’t know much about copyright law, other than that a copyright is a piece of property that has value and can be ‘stolen’ [infringed upon] and that there are often ‘fair use’ provisions in play that would allow incomplete copying of a work for nonprofit, academic purposes.

    Harvard’s 100 page limit is probably some attempt to keep from being sued for copyright infringement. [As Boris noted.] If the starving English professor goes into Harvard library and copies too many documents with the Librarian’s facilitation, it’s the party with the deep pockets [i.e. - Harvard] that’s going to get sued, not the judgment-proof egghead. An enforced copy limit policy might help as a defense.

    This policy should become unnecessary when the Library is dealing with public documents, of course. Some posters above suggested competing copyright claims. Unlike most documents produced by government agencies, the IPCC report relied on private, ‘volunteer’ assistance. Do these academics have an copyright interest in the AR4 reports ? It’s probably not an easy question to answer, considering the international nature of the problem. Maybe Dr Schmidt from Germany has rights and Dr Xhang from China doesn’t. Is US law even applicable ? Assuming waivers were signed, is the waiver language actually binding on the scientists in different countries ?

    Let’s assume IPCC gives the documents to Harvard and assures Harvard that these are public documents w/o any competing copyright interests. What should Harvard do ? How does a Harvard Librarian know one or more of the 2500 scientists won’t pop up with a copyright infringement claim if they allow the whole 1800+ pages to be copied ? If the choice of defendants is: a Canadian, an American University worth billions, a poor government official who made the false promise on the IPCC’s behalf, or the IPCC itself [which for practical purposes is immune to lawsuits], the choice is obvious. Harvard’s best interests are served by limiting the number of copies. If they want to risk complete copying, they might need to pay for a legal opinion to give themselves the confidence to proceed.

  146. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    IPCC has not actually asserted that it claims a copyright on the review comments. To the best of my recollection, IPCC did not have any sort of agreement with reviewers transferring copyright. However, IPCC policies stated that review comments would be in an open archive for 5 years and that reviewers could see review comments in the review period. Reviewers could be presumed to have agreed to an open archive.

  147. MarkR
    Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    Could this be a case for a demonstration of the power of the web?

    A whip round, copy the documents, scan them, and post them on a copyright claim proof server (ie China or similar).

    Then we can all see what’s what.

    I will put my $10 in first if required, and I am sure Boris and Dano and Eli and Tim Lambert and Gavin and Michael will contribute too, as I’m sure they want the evidence to support their claims out in the open.

  148. Earle Williams
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    It would seem that copyright is not an issue with respect to the IPCC 1834-page document. I suspect that the librarian reverted to the 100-page policy as a reflexive response, consistent with observations by Boris and others. It seems that the IPCC truly intends to have the Harvard library serve as an archive. The problem lies in that archives are designed to preserve documents, not distribute them. Forward-thinking libraries (yes, applying a judgemental bias here) do both by scanning the requested document once and making electronic versions available to public forever more.

    It may be that the Harvard library only has hardcopy of the authors’ comments. If such is the case it is a sad reflection on the IPCC and its ability to live up to its own tenet of openness and transparency. Since the IPCC has chosen an archive that as a rule only provides limited copies to visitors in person, the question should be asked of the IPCC as to why there is no electronic availability.

  149. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    I agree, Harvard is probably not the problem here as they are more than likely simply following their own rules. Now that the IPCC is (supposedly) aware of the problem, they should be the ones that work to rectify the situation.

    Mark

  150. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    #146, Steve M.

    I like your argument, but there’s no accounting for the lunacy of lawyers. What is an open archive ? Is it a place where an interested person can go look, or is it a place that distributes complete copies of an author’s work product to anybody who asks ? I know which definition you prefer, but it’s always possible to find a lawyer to argue the alternate definition.

    If I sent an unsolicited comment to IPCC, I’d guess I’d have no Intellectual Prop rights in the content, and that IPCC could distribute it as much as they desired. [Although some privacy rules might apply...]

    What might make this situation screwy is that reviewers were solicited to provide the comments. Surely, IPCC doesn’t claim to own the copyrights to academic papers that were referenced to author the WG1 report. Do other privately produced documents that were used to ‘tune’ the report deserve less protection ? Might some of these comments eventually evolve into journal articles ? I suspect copyright infringement could be a partial rationale for journals not publishing work that has been discussed elsewhere.

    I double-checked my copy of “What Do You Care What People Think ?” to make sure what the US gov’t made Feynman do to be part of the panel investigating the Challenger.

    There were also some forms to sign, saying you agree to this and that so you can get your expenses paid and so on.

    If it came to court, reviewers’ copyright infringement claims probably wouldn’t be a real problem, but it’d probably be better if IPCC had provided a more explicit waiver.

  151. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    The difference is that I don’t see it as some conspiracy to hide the comments or make them as inacessible as possible. I think such talk of conspiracy is unproductive. Apparently you disagree. Fine.

    Boris, I believe that you have stated that we do not know whether or not a politically motivated IPCC would willfully make access to the comments more difficult than necessary. Neither you, nor anyone else, can read their minds so we can only judge based on the evidence as it is disclosed.

    As you properly noted libraries in general have certain rather commonly applied rules regarding copying of documents. These rules would be rather well known among just about anyone who has done any library searches and research. I would doubt that the IPCC people would be unaware of those policies. Had they been sincerely interested in making the reviews public in an efficient manner they would certainly have followed through on the process instead of handing it off to a library clerk.

    The IPCC 4AR report is a well orchestrated and thought out document that in my judgment was presented with a consistent story line (almost like a plot of a fiction writing) that selects data to show that effects of AGW need urgent attention. Why should that seemingly efficient approach breakdown suddenly when it comes to making the reviews of it public? Would that political awareness and astuteness suddenly desert them if making the reviews public would have helped them make their point? Their liberal use of bolded terms such as likely, very likely and almost certainly that are well interspersed in the 4AR demonstrates that the IPCC places great importance on showing the reading public that a consensus of expert opinion backs their conclusions.

    By the way, would you or anyone here know how the different levels of likely are determined by the authors of the 4AR?

    Boris, what I find funny is that you seem to skirt around these questions, which I think are important to the issue, by focusing on the phraseology of participants here, attributing conspiracy theories, worrying about how the IPCC will respond (they won’t) to the criticism and noting obvious and predictable reactions of the involved bureaucrats but never questioning why the IPCC then did what they did in the light of these predictable reactions.

  152. jae
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    It is very important to look at the hard-to-get comments. I’ll bet there are some very negative comments about IPCC therein, since we know that at least one scientist demanded that he not be referenced by IPCC. Hell, Steve, just buy the paper copy. I’ll donate $20 to the effort.

  153. Reid
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    What would be the legal consequences of scanning the documents and posting them on a public access website?

  154. woodentop
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    Speaking as a (tyro) lawyer, it’s quite possible that this example is similar to the commonplace practice of publishing legal notices in obscure gazettes and the small ads of newspapers. No-one actually believes that anyone will read them, but the legal fiction is that since the notice has been published, the legal nicety has been observed and a duty has been discharged. Depending on who was handed this archiving job, they may have felt their obligation began and ended with the deposit of a paper copy at Harvard.

    I’m not qualified to speak on US copyright laws (if indeed those are engaged); but if the reviewers gave no assignation of their rights, then they retain them. This would include publication rights.

    Either way, I feel that the issue should be put back squarely with the IPCC, per #149.

  155. jae
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    There certainly can’t be a legal problem with Steve viewing the comments, since IPCC has formally granted permission for reviewers to access them. Maybe there is a problem if he were to post them, but he can certainly post his reviews of the comments. That would be enough for me. The lawyers have made everything so darn complicated.

  156. woodentop
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    #155 jae – quite! And we’ll not get into legal theory and the complexity of modern society…

  157. Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    You need to be careful you don’t give the IPCC too many ideas. They may claim cpyright on climate. Whoops, too late.

  158. Boris
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    worrying about how the IPCC will respond (they won’t) to the criticism

    Ken,

    According to James Amman, he’s been in contact with Martin Manning who is working to improve the situation at Harvard library.

    As for all your claims about what I “skirt” and what i think is important, the really important stuff in all this is the science. Despite a lot of noise, there’s not much out there to challenge the consensus position. If you think you’re going to find a gold nugget or a smoking guin in 1834 pages of comments, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Frankly, the sooner anybody who wants them gets a hold of them the better.

  159. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 5, 2007 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    Uh, Steve M. made it pretty clear, and nobody has disagreed, that he did not expect to find much dissent. Most of those that did, probably didn’t do so in “gold nugget” fashion anyway. Your point is rather immaterial. Falsifiability hinges on access to everyone’s comments, good or bad. The fact that you try to belittle the comments to the “there’s not much out there to challenge the consensus position” is rather humorous, particularly given that the IPCC reviewed what, 70 papers, authored by how many, maybe 20 lead authors?

    Mark

  160. crmanriq
    Posted Jun 6, 2007 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think it would be surprising at all to find reviewers for the International Panel on Climate Change to generally agree that climate is changing, anymore than people associated with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to generally agree that drunk driving is an undesirable thing. As Wegman noted, the community is small and highly interconnected, and as such critical review tends to stick out like a sore thumb. My question would be how Steve M got on the review panel at all. Was he the token auditor?

  161. Matthew Drabik
    Posted Jun 6, 2007 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    #151 “By the way, would you or anyone here know how the different levels of likely are determined by the authors of the 4AR?”

    Check footnote 6 at the bottom of page 4 of 18 of the recent SPM.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

    Am I right in thinking that these are estmated coefficients of determination? Therefore, any assesment below ‘extremely likely’ would be statistically insignificant?

    If so, then the IPCC would not have to defend most of 4AR on scientific grounds since they would not be making scientific (causal) claims.

    Back to the topic, the comments might not include any ‘gold nuggets’, but might review some interesting assumptions made while determining ‘assessed likihood’.

  162. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 6, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    According to James Amman, he’s been in contact with Martin Manning who is working to improve the situation at Harvard library.

    While Martin is working to improve the situation should I be holding my breath?

    As for all your claims about what I “skirt” and what i think is important, the really important stuff in all this is the science. Despite a lot of noise, there’s not much out there to challenge the consensus position. If you think you’re going to find a gold nugget or a smoking guin in 1834 pages of comments, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Frankly, the sooner anybody who wants them gets a hold of them the better.

    What I continue to look for in the chapters of these reports is the political nature of the documentation and the manner in which I see the IPCC sticking to the story line and putting the best possible face on the uncertainty of publications that agree with their POV and either ignoring or giving short shrift to dissenting publications with statements indicating that a lack of certainty does not allow them to use the dissenting results.

    I would like to see how the reviewers’ comments play into the described IPCC approach from above. And, no, far be it from me to be looking for something as obvious as a smoking gun ‘€” it is something a bit more nuanced than that. My problem with the 4AR and the IPCC approach, in general, is that it has, in my judgment, started from a conclusion and worked backwards to support it. The effect is something much different than reading individual scientific papers on the matter and making judgments on them. I do, however, get a picture, if one reads more deeply into the 4AR and particularly the chapter on paleoclimate (Page 483 of Chapter 6), much uncertainty about the details of adverse conditions coming out of future AGW.

  163. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 6, 2007 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Re: #161

    Matthew, specifically from the foot notes I get the excerpt quoted directly below. I have seen it before but failed to see how it’s actually determined. I was hoping that someone more convinced of a consensus like, Boris, would be able to answer the question. They certainly must have based their conclusion on something more than someone simply telling them this was the case. Who were the experts and how did the vote would be questions that come to my mind immediately.

    6 In this Summary for Policymakers, the following terms have been used to indicate the assessed likelihood, using expert judgement, of an outcome or a result: Virtually certain > 99% probability of occurrence, Extremely likely > 95%, Very likely > 90%, Likely > 66%, More likely than not > 50%, Unlikely

    From Box TS 1.1 we have:

    The importance of consistent and transparent treatment of uncertainties is clearly recognised by the IPCC in preparing its assessments of climate change. The increasing attention given to formal treatments of uncertainty in previous assessments is addressed in Section 1.6. To promote consistency in the general treatment of uncertainty across all three Working Groups, authors of the Fourth Assessment Report have been asked to follow a brief set of guidance notes on determining and describing uncertainties in the context of an assessment . This box summarises the way that Working Group I has applied those guidelines and covers some aspects of the treatment of uncertainty specific to material assessed here.

    Uncertainties can be classified in several different ways according to their origin. Two primary types are value uncertainties’ and structural uncertainties’. Value uncertainties arise from the incomplete determination of particular values or results, for example, when data are inaccurate or not fully representative of the phenomenon of interest. Structural uncertainties arise from an incomplete understanding of the processes that control particular values or results, for example, when the conceptual framework or model used for analysis does not include all the relevant processes or relationships. Value uncertainties are generally estimated using statistical techniques and expressed probabilistically. Structural uncertainties are generally described by giving the authors’ collective judgment of their confidence in the correctness of a result. In both cases, estimating uncertainties is intrinsically about describing the limits to knowledge and for this reason involves expert judgment about the state of that knowledge. A different type of uncertainty arises in systems that are either chaotic or not fully deterministic in nature and this also limits our ability to project all aspects of climate change.

    This box also referenced 1.6 of the 4AR where I found a reference to Moss and Schneider, 2000.

    The paper references the use of Bayesian approaches and in its outline of procedures under 6 refers to a traceable account of how the estimates were constructed. How would one go about obtain/trace that “account”?

    Thus in the TAR, we expect Bayesian approaches to be what is most often meant when probabilities are attached to outcomes with an inherent component of subjectivity or to an assessment of the state of the science from which confidence characterisations are offered.

    6. Prepare a “traceable account” of how the estimates were constructed that describes the writing team’s reasons for adopting a particular probability distribution, including important lines of evidence used, standards of evidence applied, approaches to combining/reconciling multiple lines of evidence, explicit explanations of methods for aggregation, and critical uncertainties.

  164. L Nettles
    Posted Jun 6, 2007 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    So what would the response be if Steve didn’t ask for this material.

    “And you call yourself an a scientist/statistician/auditor, and you didn’t even read the …”

    I can’t understand why they are not begging him to take it.

  165. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    Since I have been able to follow the references in the AR4 report to the Moss and Schneider, 2000 paper that recommends preparing a “traceable account” for describing and explaining each working groups methods for determining the critical levels of uncertainties (likely, very likely etc.), I wanted to determine whether these accounts are available for public viewing. I would think that these documents should be since they provide the critical basis that purportedly would make the report’s conclusions, tentative or otherwise, worthy of policy consideration.

    Before emailing the potential sources of information at the IPCC organization, I wanted to put out a general query here to those with more direct exposure to the 4AR process asking whether they are familiar with these “traceable accounts” and to whom should I address my request for obtaining these accounts.

  166. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Martin Manning wrote today:

    Given the constraints that have become apparent in accessing archived copies of the review comments at the Harvard library, the Working Group I TSU has decided that it can, for a short time, provide copies of comments to expert reviewers on request. While this is not strictly required under IPCC rules, it should enable reviewers to more easily obtain information on the review process to which they contributed. As this additional form of distribution is being provided in conjunction with the review process, the compiled comments are not for re-distribution to others.

    The long term access to the review comments will remain with the Harvard archive library as previously advised.

    In a previous email you indicated that you thought you should have had access to the review comments in January 2007. May I point out that this is incorrect. IPCC rules require that comments are made available during the review periods and through an archive library after completion of the report. January 2007 was not during a review period and the WG I report was not completed until April 27th, 2007.

    We will send you the full set of comments on Chapter 6 of the WG I report as soon as that can be arranged.

  167. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Can any interpretation be put on this other than that IPCC WG1 doesn’t want the public to have convenient access to the review comments.

    There’s a legal issue here which I’d appreciate some clarification on: it seems to me that if the comments are available in an “open archive”, then IPCC cannot demand confidentiality for comments mailed to me. Obviously this little game being played by IPCC is at odds with:

    The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. …

    Review is an essential part of the IPCC process

  168. bernie
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    #166

    Progress!? Don’t you just love a bureaucrat. I wonder how this tale gets retold over a glass of correctly chilled Chardonnay at the Charles Hotel Bar or the Harvest.

  169. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    “Open Government” is a concept that has never been heartily embraced by the UN or its panels. Talk about an org crying out for proper governance.

  170. bernie
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    #167
    Steve,
    I would wait to explore this issue until you have the comments in hand along with any statement as to rights, confidentiality, etc. Are they sending it as a softcopy?

  171. bernie
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Ken:
    The mind boggles at how estimates of the structural uncertainties was actually done. In a certain sense if you have to that kind of assessment you don’t really have a meaningful model. For example, not including adequate models for water vapour and clouds presumably introduces a structural uncertainty as would precipitation into the proxy models. Do I have this right?

  172. woodentop
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    #170 bernie – agreed. The vague statement as to confidentiality in Steve’s post is meaningless as far as I can tell.

  173. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    #172, It’s probably meaningless in the sense that they couldn’t sue me if I disregarded it, but, in their own self-righteous world, they would take the position that I had breached an agreement and had behaved dishonorably, rather than thinking that they had behaved dishonorably in attaching unjustified restrictions.

    Take a look at my FOI request to NOAA – new post.

  174. Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    Once you have the documentation you require from IPCC in your hands, I would write to them and state that unless they can show you why you cannot publish this information you will publish within seven days. This puts the onus on them to refute the claim by the IPCC that the process is open rather than having them constantly in the driving seat.

  175. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Confidentiality
    Copyright
    Fair Use
    Distribution

    I think the above terms are all knotted together in this controversy. A reviewer gets to look at comments, but not necessarily distribute them. Why ? Because the reviewer’s use would be a fair use, and probably not a violation of any copyrights that might exist, b/c reviewers submitted comments w/ the understanding that they would be available to the other reviewers during the review period. This is a very limited use contrary to any authors’ copyrights. Distribution of the comments en masse is not a fair use, in the same way that distributing bootleg copies of a movie to the public is contrary to copyright law. Printing a short excerpt of a book for a book review is a ‘fair use’, I believe. Publishing a short excerpt from one or more of the comments might be a fair use; I’d contact an attorney who specializes in copyrights to make sure. Distribution of comments is otherwise at your own risk.

    The open archive at Harvard, you’ll note, is set up to provide something closer to academic ‘fair use’, rather than distribution to the general public.

    A major question would be what would happen if a reviewer published comments in their entirety. If copyrights are violated, the holder of the copyrights would have legal recourse. If IPCC doesn’t hold any copyrights on the comments, they probably wouldn’t have legal recourse. Presumably, it would be possible to seek the written permission of a given author to distribute his comment. Don’t forget that an angry IPCC could possibly deny a person future rights to participate in 5AR.

  176. Reid
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    What we have here is a failure to communicate.

    My non-expert opinion. The IPCC will not use the courts to enforce any copyrights. The IPCC is the Wizard of Oz. It is putting on big scary show and the last thing it wants is a legal discovery process into their activities that a court copyright challenge would allow. Wouldn’t be prudent.

    All the commentary will eventually make it’s way toward open internet distribution. It may take a few more months and it may require renegade internet postings. But eventually it will all be readily available. The problem is the IPCC will have “moved on” when the deficiencies in 4AR are reported in the mass media. We will be told that unlike 4AR, 5AR will be a model of open science. The IPCC will tell us how they are listening to constructive feedback and the 5AR process will be a model of open consensus science.

    Watch the movie “Brazil” for insights into how the IPCC operates.

  177. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    Here’s how I replied to Manning.

    “Dear Dr Manning,

    I remain puzzled by several aspects of your response.

    First, could you please clarify what you purport to be requiring when you state “the compiled comments are not for re-distribution to others.” Are you prohibiting the quotation of any comments that you are proposing to provide? Or are you prohibiting the re-distribution of the entire compilation?

    Second, can you cite the specific IPCC policy that authorizes you to issue either prohibition. IPCC rules require you to maintain an “open archive”; so the comments are obviously not confidential. IPCC rules state that the “review process should be objective, open and transparent” and that “the role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis”. Neither of these rules support the prohibition that you purport to be issuing, the effect of which appears to substantially exceed your authority as Director, IPCC WG I Support Unit, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

    Third, may I point out that you incorrectly cited IPCC policy when you purported to refute my request for access in January 2007. You stated:

    IPCC rules require that comments are made available during the review periods and through an archive library after completion of the report. January 2007 was not during a review period and the WG I report was not completed until April 27th, 2007.

    IPCC rules distinguish between the “review process” and “review periods”. IPCC policies require you to make the comments available during the “review process”:

    All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process.

    The term “review process” is defined in Appendix A as consisting of three stages:

    The review process generally takes place in three stages: expert review of IPCC Reports, government/expert review of IPCC Reports, government review of the Summaries for Policymakers, Overview Chapters and/or the Synthesis Report.

    Since government review of the Summary for Policy-makers was taking place in late January, my original request was made during the “review process” and the obligation to deliver review comments arose at that time. The term “review periods” is used in the WG1 Timetable to describe something other than the “review process” as defined in Appendix A and is obviously not relevant for the interpretation of Appendix A.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre”

  178. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    Re: #175

    Jim Edwards what makes you think that legal isues, such as copy right and fair use, are involved in the IPCC’s hesitancy to provide Steve M with the information that he requested? Have I missed something here? If these were the issues why would they not state them directly to Steve M and quit wasting everyone’s time?

    Why do not one of us ask the IPCC about the legal issues involved — or if any are.

  179. bernie
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    #177
    Steve:
    Game, set and match methinks!

  180. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    On the initial pages of the 4AR report, we see that this report is in copyright and evidently because it is online in digital form can be accessed by the public. Taking the same line of reasoning with the reviewers’ comments, I would assume that regardless of copyright status there would obviously be no questions of public access had they been made available online. So why were they not?

    ⧠Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007

    This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of
    Cambridge University Press.

    First published 2007

    Printed in Canada by Friesens

  181. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    #178, Ken Fritsch

    Well, I didn’t say that copyright law was behind their (in)actions.

    If IPCC was trying to stall, it would be smartest for them not to tell Steve what their complete reasoning was, b/c then they’d be boxed in to a position and if he found a way to address their specific concerns they wouldn’t be able to stall anymore. If IPCC is obtuse, it requires Steve to spend weeks just trying to pin down the problem, before even attempting to address it [hypothetically...].

    My post above refers to what somebody who receives the full stack of comments might do. It sounds like IPCC is saying he can have them, but he doesn’t get to own them, or redistribute them to others who might find them an interesting read. It’s not clear to me that IPCC can stop him, or do anything if he did redistribute them; it’s also not clear to me that he could publish the whole 1800+ pages w/o facing potential problems.

    Many of the threads on this blog begin with academic / technical commentary combined with selective quotation of copyrighted academic papers. I’m not 100% positive, but I think that is ‘fair use’. It’s like a critical book review. I don’t know, but it seems like selective quotation from individual comments coupled w/ academic / technical commentary might be ‘fair use’, and free from copyright entanglement.

    #180 Ken

    The difference between the report and the comments is that the report was written by a small number of authors who, presumably, sign over their rights to IPCC when they took the job. IPCC can do whatever they want with their copyrighted report. The copyright covers the WG1 report, itself, not all the notes compiled when writing the report. It sounds like the numerous reviewers might have potential copyright claims on their comments. If so, IPCC [and IPCC officials...] can’t distribute them to the general public, w/o permission from each reviewer – or w/o facing potential liability.

  182. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 7, 2007 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    #181. I disagree. Reviewers knew or ought to have known that IPCC policies require them to archive comments in an open archive and their agreement to the open archive can be implied as a term in their agreement to review. An “open archive” could include an online archive if the IPCC Secretariat so chose. They could archive the comments openly if they wanted and would do so in a heartbeat if they wanted.

  183. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    #166. Less than 24 hours after saying that they would send out comments on chapter 6, I received a FedEx package this morning. Since Manning purported to attach conditions to this form of delivery that would not apply to comments received from the Harvard Library, I’m not going to open the package until this issue is clarified.

  184. Hans Erren
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    How much CO2 did that produce? :-)

  185. jae
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Since Manning purported to attach conditions to this form of delivery that would not apply to comments received from the Harvard Library, I’m not going to open the package until this issue is clarified.

    LOL!

  186. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    #182, Steve M.

    I can’t / won’t say that your interpretation is wrong. As Devil’s Advocate, however, I’d argue that IF existing “open archives” are set up to preserve limited access to researchers, rather than complete access to the general public, THEN all reviewers didn’t impliedly agree to release their comments to the general public.

  187. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    Re:#182
    A quick search provides counterexamples to your DA hypothetical (e.g. Sudan Open Archive), thus it shouldn’t apply here.

  188. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    It sounds like the numerous reviewers might have potential copyright claims on their comments.

    Jim Edwards, I was under the impression that a copyright is the result of an intentional action, i.e. someone has to, as I recall, at least put one of those copyright symbols on the document. Do you really think that these reviewers would go to the bother or feel the need to copyright their comments? Contrarily, I would think almost every scientist that made review comments would want to be heard by the widest of audiences.

    I am also curious now how the comments of the reviewers were made. If it were accomplished by email, how would a copyright be implied without some declaration? If made orally, I see a similar problem.

    I think the telling comment was in the reply to Steve M that noted the IPCC was doing something for him but was not obligated to under the IPCC rules and regulations. It would appear the evidence is pointing to a deliberate attempt by the IPCC to discourage a public viewing of these documents and doing so without hiding behind legal issues.

    I am wondering, if and when the US congress begins enacting legislation in attempts to mitigate AGW, and in so doing uses the 4AR report for support of that legislation, whether at that time the citizenry could demand making the background information, such as reviewers’ comments and the traceable accounts of how the likelihood was determined in the working groups, publicly available. It sounds reasonable, but that does not mean it will happen that way.

  189. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    A quick check on the internet found that a copyright can be claimed without afixing the copyright symbol — according to current US law.

    Looking at what qualifies for copyright under the US law, I would, however, have my doubts about the reviewers comments. Certainly the comments were not made in a commercial pusuit and under the auspices of the UN I would not think that they would intend for them to be used by the reviewers as a source of monetary enrichment.

  190. L Nettles
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Jim Edwards, I was under the impression that a copyright is the result of an intentional action, i.e. someone has to, as I recall, at least put one of those copyright symbols on the document. Do you really think that these reviewers would go to the bother or feel the need to copyright their comments? Contrarily, I would think almost every scientist that made review comments would want to be heard by the widest of audiences.

    No, copyright protection is automatic for qualifying work. The copyright symbol adds some protection but is not necessary.

  191. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    188, Ken Fritsch:

    I take no position on whether anybody has a valid copyright under the laws of one or more nations. I defer to others on whether “open” in “open archive” usually means open to some or open to all.

    I’m only opening a can of worms and suggesting examination before action.

    Let’s assume there is some very weak copyright claim that could be made. [Not hard to imagine under the facts reported, as we are dealing with many parties and many countries' law.] I predict that a slip up could lead to messy legal problems, b/c the visceral hatred directed at certain parties would make this more like divorce court than a typical court case. Some readers may be aware that businesses often write off debts rather than pursue them in court, b/c it’s not worth their time. Divorcing spouses, on the other hand, have been known to spend $20k in legal fees to fight over a $50 couch. I fear parties who have secure gov’t jobs w/ little to do and who hold certain reviewers in contempt could let their self-righteous anger get the better of them if they feel slighted in the least.

  192. jae
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Divorcing spouses, on the other hand, have been known to spend $20k in legal fees to fight over a $50 couch. I fear parties who have secure gov’t jobs w/ little to do and who hold certain reviewers in contempt could let their self-righteous anger get the better of them if they feel slighted in the least.

    Wise advice, I would say. And free!

  193. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    RE: #191 – Indeed, it could be a trap. Watch out Steve M!

  194. Boris
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Ken,

    I see you survived holding your breath, if you actually went that route.

    As to why the IPCC would not want the comments widely distributed, I think the reasons for this are quite obvious. The comments are not made for public consumption and some of them ending up in a George Will column might interfere in the next review process. The IPCC is under a huge microscope as it is–a microscope with razor blades on it.

    [cue ominous music]

  195. S. Hales
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    #194 Oh come on Boris, A DA could have been created on a secure system with restricted access and all the provisos on distribution. The creation of a paper archive has only one purpose, to make the comments as difficult as possible to retrieve. If there is nothing to hide why the subtrefuge? The review comments are AR4’s audit trail. IMO every citizen has the right to look over the shoulder of those who spend their money. They have a right to know that is why the FOIA was passed, to deal with petty bureaucrats and those who wish to obfuscate policymaking. Why do you work against the rights of the proletariat? :)

  196. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    #194 Boris:

    Some of the authors and reviewers may not consider these comments fit for public consumption. I suppose you could analogize it to sausage being made, sometimes it ain’t pretty. I seriously doubt this a real concern for IPCC, itself. Exceptionally few people are going to care what’s in these comments.

    I also don’t buy the “they’re hiding a smoking gun” conspiracy theory for why IPCC might not want comments to go public.

    I suspect the IPCC rationale is the same as that of any agency. They want to have the final say on the interpretation of their work product. Nobody wants to have somebody else taking their years of work apart and reassembling it with an alternative explanation. If anybody can prepare a report, why should an agency continue to exist. US agencies hate that they have to deal with FOIA. It’s expensive and can keep them from spinning their message effectively.

    It reminds me of when I worked in thin films. I hated dealing with test engineers. Development engineers would go through extensive labor to design experiments and prepare experimental samples for test. Test engineers were the bottleneck, refusing to test samples or requiring others that suited their personal interest. Even after their technicians tested samples, test engineers would refuse to provide data until they had prepared powerpoint slides and presented “their” findings to senior executives. Once the data had been presented, it was old news and development engineers could no longer present their work.

    It’s fun to have complete control over information; it’s not so fun to have to deal with people who insist on having complete control over information.

  197. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    RE 194

    Boris, that sounds like Cheney’s defense for not revealing notes of his meetings with
    Big Oil about energy policy.!

    Now, the reviewers comments can fall into THREE categories.

    1. They are largely in line with the final report ( consensus!)
    2. They imply a stronger case than the final report ( we are MELTING!)
    3. They imply a weaker case than the final report: Consensus? we got no consensus.

    So, if 1 were the case, it would be in their intrest to release the comments publically.

    So, that leaves option 2 or 3. you think it’s #2?

  198. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

    #195 If you want a real laugh http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2002/issue3/110502_unconf_freedom_achieve.html
    You point out what all sorts of scientists are asking “why the subtrefuge”? UN doctrine agrees with you. IPCC is part of UN…Go figure!

    #196 points why FOIA and now the new OMB DQA will be hated.

    However,#194, I would point out that Jim #196 is most correct for agencies, but there appears to be an “individual” oreintation(sp) I find quite alarming in climate science (AGW style). I have spent most of my adult life dealing with regulatory agency representatives. They are by far competent, knowlegdeable, helpful, discreet, useful, etc…They are most assuredly not “spinning a mesasge #196″ unless required by the regulations or other guidelines. His point is of an agency directive (direction). Your point of “public consumption” does deserve consideration for whom we are dealing with. It is not necesarliy IPCC, but Dr. Mann, it is not NOAA, USGS, or NSA but Hansen, Karl, etc. The “razor blades” are ineffective to good science or are welcome. George Will must be end of all science?? NO. He is a recognized force in op-ed. THUS YOUR COMMENTS DIRECTLY SUPPORT THAT IPCC AND THE HOCKEY STICK ARE POLITICAL NOT SCIENTIFIC ENTITIES! What is obvious from your post, not that that I agree, is IPPC science is bad, their politics is good.

  199. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Here’s what Manning wrote today:

    Thank you for informing us that you have received the package containing the comments and responses for Chapter 6 of the WG I report as you requested.

    Our conditions for use of these are stated in the package simply as follows:

    “The following compilation of review comments and author responses is being supplied by the Working Group I Technical Support Unit to you as an expert reviewer of the Working Group I report.

    These comments and responses are for your information only. They are not to be re-distributed in part or in full to others.

    Please note that under IPCC procedures authors are required to take account of all substantive review comments in both review rounds. Thus responses to individual comments may be influenced by comments from other reviewers.”

    I trust that this is clear, but it may help if I reiterate that because chapter authors had a responsibility to deal with all comments received it would be inappropriate, and a disservice to both authors and reviewers, if anyone were to consider just some selected subset of the comments.

    In connection with your other points, I do not accept your interpretation of IPCC procedures in regard to the duration of the review process. There was no opportunity to comment on any chapter material after June 2nd, 2006, so there can be no basis for considering that the review process for these comments continued until January 2007. We are following procedures set by the Panel and precedent established in previous assessments. These are intended to strike a reasonable balance between the interests of authors, reviewers, and others interested in the assessment. :evil:

    This gets more and more bizarre. If a government institution purchase a photocopy from Harvard library, they are allowed to quote review comments from the “open archive”, but Manning is prohibiting me from quoting the review comments even “in part”. Then he’s cheeky enough to say that the prohibition is to prevent quotation of a mere subset, when I’ve asked them to make all the comments available online.

  200. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    #195. S Hales, have you sent your FOI to NOAA yet? A template is available on the other thread.

  201. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    Well, the title of this thread is “Cunning IPCC Bureauc rats”.

  202. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Re:#199
    Doesn’t Manning’s statement

    …I reiterate that because chapter authors had a responsibility to deal with all comments received it would be inappropriate, and a disservice to both authors and reviewers, if anyone were to consider just some selected subset of the comments.

    explicitly disapprove of duplicating anything less than the entire set of comments (for example, at the Harvard archive)? For those of us who were not invited reviewers, perhaps it’s time to get someone to visit the archive with a fairly high-res digital camera and a pile of memory cards.

  203. Boris
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    I trust that this is clear, but it may help if I reiterate that because chapter authors had a responsibility to deal with all comments received it would be inappropriate, and a disservice to both authors and reviewers, if anyone were to consider just some selected subset of the comments.

    That’s very close to what I said. The IPCC doesn’t want people taking the comments out of context. This is perfectly reasonable. Do you guys really want scientists to be super conscious of how their comments might be used as they work on the AR5?

    And 202, it’s not the duplication of part of the comments, but the selective republication that would be a problem.

  204. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    #203. Boris, IPCC policy calls for a “open and transparent process”. The TSU may not “want” one, but the policy was set above TSU and is being subverted by them. Also the only restrictions on the use of comments by institutions who purchase photocopies from Harvard are “those applicable to any academic use. They have purported to place restrictions on my use of the copies sent to me that would not apply to copies purchased from Harvard. (I haven’t opened the package for that reason).

  205. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    #204, Steve M.

    So:
    1. open your package of comments
    2. Find the twenty pages out of 1800+ that you find interesting.
    3. order those twenty pages from Harvard [keep your receipt]
    4. Do what you want with the Harvard copies.

    [just a thought...]

  206. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    From Manning we have:

    …I reiterate that because chapter authors had a responsibility to deal with all comments received it would be inappropriate, and a disservice to both authors and reviewers, if anyone were to consider just some selected subset of the comments.

    And from Boris we have:

    That’s very close to what I said. The IPCC doesn’t want people taking the comments out of context. This is perfectly reasonable. Do you guys really want scientists to be super conscious of how their comments might be used as they work on the AR5?

    And 202, it’s not the duplication of part of the comments, but the selective republication that would be a problem.

    One might, after reading all that has transpired here on this matter, be of the judgment that the IPCC was less than interested in providing the background information to the public for making their own more comprehensive views of how the 4AR was put together, but after hearing Manning’s creative explanation, and now Boris’ concurrence, one can only say that: Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Boris, wasn’t it you who said these comments would simply reflect the consensus views of the reviewers and give the IPCC marketing effort no reason to withhold or delay information. If so, how could one’s taking a look at a less than complete compilation of comments confuse the poor ignorant reading public? Besides in everyone’s daily reading, I believe that most reasonably aware readers, and of the main stream media particularly, realize that comments from time to time might just be taken out of context.

    Your defenses of the IPCC in this matter continue to amuse me.

  207. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    I want to be sure that I have all the revealed information on the matter of the reviewer’s comments correct and so will reiterate my understanding in this post.

    The reviewers’ comments from Working Group I of the AR4 report are in archives at a Harvard Library in the form of a hard copy of some 1800 plus pages. This information is not available by way of the internet. If it were available by way of the internet none of the issues in contention for the hard copies would apply. It would appear from Manning’s comments posted here by Steve M that there are no known or divulged rules applying to the handling of the comments, except Manning’s personal appeal to comment context.

    Hypothetically, I could legally and at some personal expense go or send a representative to the Harvard Library and copy 100 pages of the reviewers’ comments at a setting until I have all the comments copied and scanned into digital form and then post the entire document on the internet, providing I identified and credited the proper sources.

    Could an organization such as the IPCC with its stated policy of transparency and concern for their public image in marketing their AGW policy, in good faith press any repercussions on an individual or organization that might take the action outlined above?

    In matters of government workings that might be more readily defended in withholding information than in this case, one normally gets public viewing through leaks ‘€” and leaks the source of which are never, or very seldomly revealed. I would be surprised if that was not a possible source here (attention NYT).

    If all else fails perhaps we can recruit Sandy Berger to go the Harvard Library with baggy socks and to do his thing. Certainly he appears to have worked a documentary disappearing act without repercussions.

  208. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    The most important potential selling points about the AR4 report are that it shows there is an overwhelming consensus on AGW, that the likelihood levels listed in the reports are formally derived from applicable statistics and/or a vote of experts, that the reviewers’ comments followed from a diverse variety of views and that the scientific literature sited was not cherry picked. The link below would tend to indicate that that case can be made, in whole or part, by the reviewers’ comments and how they are handled (also the Account Traceability for each group’s determination of the levels of likelihood in my view). I would challenge Manning’s interpretations of the links sited by Steve M and that excerpted below as they are not consistent with these findings. Since Manning has only been able to apparently put forth his own rulings, and without reference to formal IPCC rules and guidance, I would think that one needs to get an opinion/judgment from someone else in that organization.

    http://www.climatescience.gov/workshop2005/presentations/breakout_2B_Solomon.pdf

    Preparation and Review of the WG1 AR4:

    Comprehensive bibliography is achieved by the end of the process (many reviewer comments focus on ensuring that the authors consider the full range of available work).

    Coverage is shaped by the review.

    The many comments reflect a diverse variety of views. Balance in content is shaped by the review.

    Many comments focus on issues of scientific confidence and uncertainty. Uncertainty issues are shaped by the review.

    Review Editors ensure that comments are afforded appropriate consideration by the authors. Comments are formally archived.

    A scientific process is ensured by the fact that the comments and responses are open.
    The breadth of the author teams and the breadth and depth of the review is not achieved by any other process. Thus assessed findings in a final IPCC report are not the views of any individual scientist and reflect a far broader process.

  209. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    Re:#203
    Boris, my point was that the curator of the archive apparently believes otherwise than Manning, as he is — mostly! — imposing a 100-page limit on the number of pages that may be duplicated at a time. At least one of the two must be wrong.

  210. Boris
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    If so, how could one’s taking a look at a less than complete compilation of comments confuse the poor ignorant reading public?

    We’re not talking about the looking now, but the republication. If you don’t see how selective republication could deceive the reading public then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Now the IPCC is all over the place here, which is a disappointment. There are certainly some internal conflicts at the IPCC. But the end result is that Steve has the comments in hand and–using Jim Edward’s brilliant and sneaky workaround–can pretty much do whatever he wants with them, at least by my reading.

    Oh, and as to your idea of going to Harvard and posting the comments online, the only issues would be copyright issues. It has not been resolved who has the copyright or if they would do anything to protect it.

  211. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    A quick look at Harvard’s web sites shows that the Phillips Reading Room in Widener Library (where the IPCC materials will be available) has a self-service scanner (for scanning to USB drive or FTP transfer); there is no fee for use of the scanner. This would seem to reduce the duplication costs substantially for someone who is able to visit that library.
    Regarding copyright, the web site says “Copyright laws require that users digitize library materials for research/educational purposes only.”

  212. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    A scientific process is ensured by the fact that the comments and responses are open.

    Susan is speaking with forked tongue here. The “responses” are not “open” – they aren’t not even at Harvard.

  213. Reid
    Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    In my opinion, the IPCC will not use legal means to attack anyone who publishes the reviewer comments. The reason is simple. Any legal proceeding will attract mainstream media attention. Even if the IPCC has the legal right to withold the names and comments of the 2,500 scientists they are first and foremost in the AGW catasphophe business. Taking the AGW catastrophe business to a US or Canadian court will clearly show that they have an agenda that is not science based.

    Steve, take the leap. Order all 1800+ pages and post them on the net. Either there will be no legal consequences or you will be a world class heretic no longer relegated to a specialty blog. If the IPCC attacks you, you will go from mainstream obscurity to a 21st century Galileo style heretic. Attention will be paid.

    As I said in an earlier post, all reviewer comments will be on the web in a few months. Who posts them on the net is the wild card.

  214. Posted Jun 9, 2007 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    I have made this point once before. Now you have the review documents ask the IPCC why you should not post them on the internet. Quote them the freedom of information principles of the UN and any other documentation purporting to require such freedoms. Put the onus on them with a deadline. If they are going to take legal action it gives them an opportunity to seek an injunction before the deadline. Dare they do that and attract the media attention or do they allow the review comments themselves to become a point of media attention. As has already been said if they really believed in freedom of information the comments would already be on the web. The bit about selective quoting is rubbish as they have already been doing that themselves.

  215. Nicholas
    Posted Jun 10, 2007 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

    It’s going to be hard for Mr. McIntyre to continue his research if he’s shunned as a result of publishing these comments – even though they are SUPPOSED to be open and there would not be anything wrong with doing so.

    If one of us should visit Harvard Library, scan some of the more interesting pages, and post them, without involving Steve, it would be in the interests of science but without dragging him into it. It’s a sad state of affairs but I understand why he doesn’t want to be seen to be too reckless or untrustworthy, even if the person placing these conditions upon him has no valid basis in doing so.

  216. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 10, 2007 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    We’re not talking about the looking now, but the republication. If you don’t see how selective republication could deceive the reading public then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Your comments, like the one above, do not make sense to me, so perhaps I am misunderstanding them. Let us review what we have here:

    We have a main report from the WG1 of the AR4 available online and we have the reviewer’s comments available, or the promise to be available, in hard copy at a Harvard Library. One could illegally republish either of these documents incompletely in an attempt to defraud the public or for whatever other reason they may have. It would take a rather obvious illegal act to do either deception. One could certainly quote partial excerpts with proper notation to the full documents as is the case with any document of this nature.

    If that attempt at deception were to occur with the online main report one could immediately point to the official IPCC web linked document to demonstrate the deception. If that attempt were to occur with the hard copied comments a readily available copy of the report would not be available for showing the deception committed. Therefore, in the name of not allowing a deception from incomplete information getting to the public (certainly, we can agree that obtaining selections from the hard copy of reviewers’ comments are or will be readily accomplished) without an available means of retort, I would certainly judge that the IPCC would go with a full online availability of both of these documents.

    The copyright protection I would think could be invoked only if someone were to attempt to make a commercial sale of the material. Certainly that would not be the case with the IPCC. The other copyright protection would involve the “free” distribution of the material reducing potential monetary enrichment for the copyright owner. I certainly cannot see how the comment makers would be allowed to “sell” their comments individually or as a group, since its value derives from the IPCC sponsorship.

    In the US we have had many examples of both major political party participants attempting to hide government activities from the public. In the end these “secrets” make it out to the public and the damage comes more from the hiding than the information revealed. I recently commented to my brother that it would refreshing to get information for a change directly from the Bush Administration than having to have it filtered through the NYT. Only the most ardent of partisans will usually defend these political practices ‘€” and of course never do it consistently.

  217. Earle Williams
    Posted Jun 10, 2007 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    I’m not entirely certain that there is any copyright applicable here, at least in countries that are parties to the Berne convention. For employees of the U.S. government who made comments as a function of their job there is no copyright involved, as all works of the U.S. government are not copyrightable.

  218. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 10, 2007 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

    #217, Earle Williams:

    I agree with two of your points here:

    1. We don’t have certainty on whether / which of these comments are covered by copyright law.

    2. Individual comments can be excluded from copyright protection on a case-by-case basis.

    As you note, written comments made by US gov’t employees in their official capacity are probably not a concern. With a little work, it’d probably be possible to conclusively exclude many comments from copyright protection. I also suggested seeking permission from the author of an individual comment when a question existed. [see #175, above] The copyright problem can be minimized, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

  219. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 11, 2007 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    #167, Steve M.

    You asked a question earlier that I don’t think was addressed.

    Can IPCC place restrictions on comments they send you as a reviewer that wouldn’t exist if you had received the comments from the “open archive” at Harvard ?

    I think the answer could be yes.

    The answer likely lies not in copyright law, but in laws of agency / employment. If we assume for a moment that a reviewer is a type of employee of IPCC (not a small assumption), then a duty of loyalty would apply (at least in common law countries…). The master (IPCC) can grant access to information to the servant (a reviewer) with an expectation that the servant will use the information to further the master’s purposes and not the servant’s.

    IPCC is granting special access to comments that is superior to access available to the general public. This special access is only given to persons with this special relationship to IPCC.

    Are reviewers employees ? I don’t know. Presumably, they could be fired, like employees. I’m guessing they weren’t paid. This isn’t necessarily a barrier; I’d expect that Red Cross volunteers would be liable under an unjust enrichment theory if they exploited an investment opportunity that was meant to go to the non-profit organization.

    I’m only saying it doesn’t sound crazy to me for IPCC to argue special restrictions when they grant special access to somebody with whom they have a special relationship.

    Of course, even if the above argument applied, it’s hard for me to see where there are any recoverable damages. If he weren’t selling the information, or advertising on the site, where would the offending reviewer’s ill-gotten gains be ? I suppose it would be possible for IPCC to seek an injunction against the reviewer to cease publication, assuming the comments hadn’t been mirrored already.

    If IPCC could make the case that it had encountered unnecessary financial injury as a result of publication, there might be liability there. But how can this be when the “open archive” exists, with an expressed purpose of providing access to the information in question ? [Unless Harvard were paying for the right to host the archives and that relationship was severed as a result of the alternate publication...]

    An unanswerable question would be how third parties would respond to a hypothetical breach of a duty of loyalty.

  220. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 15, 2007 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    More from Martin Manning:

    I regret not being able to respond substantively to your previous email while I was travelling, but I have now been able to take some time to consider the points you raised and to discuss these with my TSU colleagues.

    The IPCC has not previously made review comments and responses available electronically in response to requests, however, I have raised this issue with the two other IPCC Working Group TSUs and we have agreed that this could be adopted as a new operational procedure starting with the Fourth Assessment Report. This may raise some inconsistencies with the way in which the Harvard archive library distributes copies of the WG I review material, and I will be discussing this further with the curator at Harvard. In any case, I am now arranging for the WG I TSU to send you the Chapter 6 comments and responses as PDF files.

    While a switch from hard copy distribution to electronic distribution can be regarded as an operational matter within the purview of the TSUs, the requirement that review materials are not to be cited or redistributed is a long standing IPCC practice and independent of the medium used for distribution. We would not be promoting a transparent and open process, nor would we be acting responsibly to our authors and many expert reviewers, if there were no restraint on others selectively editing and redistributing review materials. As the comment files are made available to anyone on request, such a restraint in no way prevents others from retrospective consideration of the report drafting and review process, but rather, to the best of our ability, encourages them to take proper account of all relevant material.

    For these reasons comment and response files distributed by us will include a notice stating that the material is not to be edited or redistributed. Rather than challenge my authority to follow past practice in the IPCC in this regard, you should recognize that I actually have no authority to change that.

    Finally, may I clarify an apparent misunderstanding. I am not employed by NOAA, but by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) which administers the Working Group I TSU in Boulder, Colorado, just as it did the previous US based WG II TSU during the third IPCC assessment round.

  221. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 15, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Manning says:

    Finally, may I clarify an apparent misunderstanding. I am not employed by NOAA, but by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) which administers the Working Group I TSU in Boulder, Colorado, just as it did the previous US based WG II TSU during the third IPCC assessment round.

    The role of UCAR deserves a little airing. It’s a “private” corporation whose main source of revenue is an administrative markup for running NCAR. UCAR is not subject to FOI as far as I know. So it can fund IPCC activities using federal funds without IPCC financing turning up as a line item in anyone’s budget. It’s the climate equivalent of “off balance sheet” financing. Enron isn’t the only organization that knows about keeping things off the balance sheet.

    MAnning’s email to me saying that he is not a NOAA employee came from the following email address mmanning at al.noaa.gov . Why would he have a NOAA email address if he is not a NOAA employee?

  222. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 15, 2007 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Re:#220
    Martin Manning says

    …I am not employed by NOAA, but by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) which administers the Working Group I TSU in Boulder, Colorado,…

    However, his email address (listed at http://www.joss.ucar.edu/Staff/Offsitestaff.html ) is a @noaa.gov address (as is the WGI TSU email address listed at http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1_org.html#TSU ), so I would expect both to fall under NOAA FOI purview.

  223. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 15, 2007 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

    At this poster http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/WG1AR4_Poster.pdf Manning is identifed as IPCC TSU, but Solomon is identified as NOAA. Even if Martin Manning is found to be off balance sheet, I don’t see how Susan Solomon can. There are other NOAA employees as well .

  224. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 15, 2007 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    That’s true. What I was getting at with the email addresses is that those email accounts belong to NOAA. I know that in Washington state, every email sent/received by accounts owned by state government institutions is subject to public disclosure; I would hope noaa.gov accounts are treated similarly wrt the FOI act. Anyway, that’s my approach to this — we’ll see if it bears any fruit.

  225. John A
    Posted Jun 16, 2007 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Martin Manning:

    We would not be promoting a transparent and open process, nor would we be acting responsibly to our authors and many expert reviewers, if there were no restraint on others selectively editing and redistributing review materials. As the comment files are made available to anyone on request, such a restraint in no way prevents others from retrospective consideration of the report drafting and review process, but rather, to the best of our ability, encourages them to take proper account of all relevant material.

    Did I miss a nuance or did Martin Manning basically say that in order to have a transparent and open process, the review materials must be under permanent embargo?

    This is the logic of Wonderland.

  226. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 16, 2007 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    There was a famous saying from the Viet Nam War: “In order to save the village, we had to destroy it.” Martin Manning would have fitted in nicely.

  227. S. Hales
    Posted Jun 16, 2007 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    #225 Having a free and frank discussion is what motivates many such government bodies to keep ‘sausage making’ behing closed doors. The US Fed Board of Governor’s Open Market Committee minutes come to mind in the more distant past. The OMC minutes being published in recent years in a more timely manner does not seem to have encouraged selective quoting, etc., and does not seem to have stifled debate among committee members. What it has done is given us a glimpse at the degree of agreement/disagreement on the future course of policy and whether the chairman is strong or weak. Mr. Manning should take note. If the FED can stand the heat of intense scruitny and still defend its decisions then a bunch of college professors can stand a little of the same or is climate science more nuanced?

  228. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 16, 2007 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    I can understand that there are valid arguments why advice should be confidential. Legal advice is confidential. If IPCC policy ex ante was that review comments should be confidential, as their member-states had decided that this was the best way of ensuring a full and frank exchange of views, that would be one thing.

    But the member-states explicitly passed a policy saying that there should be a “transparent and open” review process. It’s ridiculous for Manning to claim that confidentiality equals “transparent and open”. It’s straight out of George Orwell.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] efforts to obtain review comments earlier in 2007 had been rebuffed. In May 2007, they told me (see CA post here on May 27, 2007) that I could attend at a library at Harvard University during restricted hours. [...]

  2. [...] efforts to obtain review comments earlier in 2007 had been rebuffed. In May 2007, they told me (see CA post here on May 27, 2007) that I could attend at a library at Harvard University during restricted hours. [...]

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