cc: "Keith Briffa" <k.briffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Phil Jones" <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 08:47:02 -0600
to: "Tim Osborn" <t.osbornatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Dear Tim, Keith, and Phil
Thanks for your message.
I am appending the IPCC principles and procedures. As far as I know,
these are the only source for any official IPCC position on related
matters (see section 4.1 of the procedures for some relevant information).
What I provided to you in the message below sent previously can only be
interpreted as a personal opinion and not an 'official' statement, and
that is why I stated that how one wished to respond is up to that person.
I would be happy to discuss this further. Please call me this morning at
At 12:10 PM +0100 6/12/09, Tim Osborn wrote:
you may remember that about a year ago we had a Freedom of Information
request from David Holland for all correspondence and emails to/from Keith
Briffa and me in connection with drafting the IPCC AR4, listing many
people involved. Phil was also involved because Holland asked for
internal CRU/UEA documents too.
UEA rejected this request on a number of grounds, including (i)
individuals expected confidentiality and (ii) that our future relationship
with the IPCC might be adversely affected if these materials were
released. The latter view was based in part on your email (copied below)
indicating that releasing further material was not appropriate.
Holland has appealed to the UK body that deals with these things, and UEA
must explain its reasons for rejecting the original request. I've been
"We proceeded on the basis that Susan Solomon represented the 'official'
view of the IPCC as an international organisation and that her statements
represented those of the IPCC. Could you confirm Susan's position vis a
vis the IPCC and if she does not 'represent' the IPCC, who would, or would
be in a position to state their position on the confidentiality of
information passing between IPCC participants that is at question in this
Now I realise that you aren't co-chair WG1 anymore, so I have two questions:
(i) during the time when you were co-chair WG1, is it fair to say that
your position did allow you to represent the IPCC view (or just the IPCC
(ii) can you suggest who we should contact who can currently represent the
IPCC view on this matter? We really need someone who is fully aware of
the issues surrounding this and appreciates the context of this request!
We're very firmly of the belief that there are important principles to
uphold here, related to our (and all our co-authors') freedom to have
frank and open exchange of views while drafting these important reports.
I notice that Holland states on McIntrye's blog:
"The point is not AR4 but to get precedence so as to get into AR5
information as soon as it is held."
If he wins his appeal and we release the AR4-related correspondence, his
opinion seems to be that this precedence will open up access to AR5
correspondence "as soon as it is held". All UK-based authors would then
expect to receive regular requests for their AR5 correspondence *during*
the drafting process. This would, in my opinion, adversely affect the
relationship between UEA (and all UK universities/public institutions such
as Met Office) and the IPCC -- it would be very supportive if someone who
currently represents IPCC (or at least IPCC WG1) could indicate that this
is also the view/position of the IPCC.
Sorry for the lengthy email, and thanks in advance for any help you can give.
At 15:44 09/05/2008, you wrote:
I am attaching below the message I sent to John Mitchell and the other
REs, with regard to a query seeking information on data as well as
discussions about comments, in case it is helpful to those of you who may
not have yet seen it.
The same considerations apply to the chapters as to the comment files.
The final chapters and comment files have all been made publicly
available, and the web pages are the appropriate place for those seeking
to understand what was done and the reasons why. Distribution of interim
materials, or other forms of elaboration are not appropriate.
I feel that the most appropriate response will be from you, since you have
I will offer the following points that may be useful to you or others in
replying to the queries that you or other REs may have received but of
course it is up to you how you wish to respond.
The IPCC process assesses the published scientific and technical
literature or, in some cases 'gray literature', based on the judgment of
the authors. In general gray literature is used very seldom in WG1
although such material as industry technical reports are used more
frequently in WG3. Unpublished draft papers or technical reports
referenced in the chapters are made available to reviewers for the
purposes of the review, not the underlying datasets used. IPCC does not
have the mandate nor resources to operate as a clearing house for the
massive amounts of data used in the underlying papers referenced. The
governance of conduct of research, and the governance and requirements of
the scientific literature are not IPCC's role.
The review editors do not determine the content of the chapters. The
authors are responsible for the content of their chapters and responding
to comments, not REs. Further explanations, elaboration, or
re-interpretations of the comments or the author responses, would not be
appropriate. All of the comments, and all of the authors' responses, have
been made available. These are the proper source for anyone seeking to
understand what comments were made and how the authors dealt with them,
and it would be inappropriate to provide more information beyond the
reference to the web pages where this can be found.
Dr Timothy J Osborn, Academic Fellow
Climatic Research Unit
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
phone: +44 1603 592089
fax: +44 1603 507784
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