Interesting news at Bishop Hill. A UK minister informed David Holland’s MP that the extra secrecy measures at IPCC, arising from the instigation of Phil Jones and persistence of Thomas Stocker, arose unintentionally and as a “drafting error”.
The Inter Academy Council had strongly endorsed transparency at IPCC:
it is essential that the processes and procedures used to produce assessment reports be as transparent as possible.
Transparency is an important principle for promoting trust by the public, the scientific community, and governments. Interviews and responses to the Committee’s questionnaire revealed a lack of transparency in several stages of the IPCC assessment process, including scoping and the selection of authors and reviewers, as well as in the selection of scientific and technical information considered in the chapters.
This had been strongly opposed by Phil Jones, (see CA post here which reviews Jones’ correspondence with Stocker.) Stocker led a bureaucratic counter-offensive urging more confidentiality:
Confidentiality is part of the basic way in which IPCC goes about its work..
Stocker’s bureaucratic intrigues (see CA post here and David Holland here) led to the adoption of language at the May 2011 IPCC meeting that increased confidentiality (see contemporary Bishop Hill post here).
As a result of David Holland’s further initiatives, the UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change wrote to his MP as follows:
We are aware that this new text would mean that reviewers would not have the opportunity to see how their comments had been addressed by IPCC authors before acceptance of the final report. It was not the IPCC’s intention to change the procedures in this way and it is likely a drafting error. Indeed, the intention of the update in the procedures was to increase openness in the way that IPCC reports are prepared. We understand that the IPCC is aware of this issue and intends to address it at the next appropriate opportunity.
The IPCC meets in early June.
I’m betting on Sir Humphrey.