IPCC 4AR – Access to Review Comments

Last week, the review of the second draft of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report began. Some readers here are IPCC reviewers and may not be aware of the following provision of Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work http://www.ipcc.ch/about/app-a.pdf, which states that:

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

Last week, I sent a note to the IPCC WG1 Technical Services Unit ( see ipcc.wg1-ucar.edu ) stating:

I would like to inspect "all written expert and governmental review comments" related to Chapter 6 – Paleoclimate provided up to the release of the Second Draft. Would you please provide me with information on how these can be accessed. Thank you for your attention.

I was not given a digital version, but today received by Fedex a hardcopy printout entitled "Expert Review Comments on First-Order Draft" – marked "Confidential, Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute". I do not believe that the imprecations prevent me from mentioning the existence of the document without incurring thunderbolts from on high, but you never know. Can I say that I found the comments to be enlightening? For any of you that are IPCC reviewers, I highly recommend the exercise of getting the corresponding document for the section that interests you.


  1. John A
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    Any chance of the supporting data and methodology for these wondrous constructions?

  2. Paul
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink


    Why is it so secret? I can’t imagine, that with the public funding, anything gets to be kept secret.

    I wonder if they’re subject to FIA rules in the US?

    You’ve really got me curious, now….

  3. Tim Ball
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Who decided who were reviewers and who could have access to the material? And while I am on the subject, who are the authors for the “Executive Summary for Policymakers” and who appointed them? The devils work is done in the darkness.

  4. Pat Frank
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    #3 From the critical essays I’ve read, the SPM is written by a self-selected group of IPCC chieftains, ministers representing all interested governments, and NGO environmental advocacy groups. I.e., exactly the sort of people who should not be writing the SPM.

    The various sections of the SPM should be written by the people who write the chapters of the IPCC AR, with the scientists who wrote the chapters signing off on the SPM summary section.

  5. Paul
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    RE#4 –

    Would SPM more accurately be SPaM?

  6. Steve Bloom
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, how many comments were there? Your description implies that the government review comments weren’t part of the package. Was anything said about those?

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t imply anything; I am simply reporting. As I understand it, government review comments are made on the 2nd Draft. I suspect that there may nto have been governemnt comments on the 1st draft but I don’t know that. IPCC WG1 did not say that none were received; they just didn’t send any. Comments by review editors were not provided either.

  8. Steve Bloom
    Posted Apr 17, 2006 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #7: Now that you mention it, I recall reading that governments don’t weigh in on the first round. I’m still curious about the total number of comments, assuming you don’t think that’s confidential.

  9. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 18, 2006 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

    Never mind all that. Which version of Wahl and Amman is being used ?

  10. Jack Lacton
    Posted Apr 18, 2006 at 5:35 AM | Permalink


    I’m sure you’ve already got this position but please don’t be tempted to release any information that would put your future access to information at risk. No doubt there are many people who want to trip you up on anything they can in order to stymie your efforts so there’s no point giving them the ammo.


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