cc: Keith Briffa <k.briffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, Phil Jones <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
date: Fri Jun 12 12:10:33 2009
from: Tim Osborn <t.osbornatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: request for all correspondence related to IPCC
to: Susan Solomon <Susan.SolomonatXYZxyza.gov>
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 asked this:
"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 case?"
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 WG1 view)?
(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:
<http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6040#comment-342457> comment #46
"The point is not AR4 but to get precedence so as to get into AR5 information as soon as it
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 been queried.
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.