[asa] IPCC 1995 draft myths

From: PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
Date: Fri Dec 22 2006 - 00:47:57 EST

In order to clarify and correct Janice's (mis)understanding of the
draft 1995 IPCC report I would like to point her to the following:

The 1995 IPCC Report: Broad Consensus or "Scientific Cleansing"? As
published in Ecofable/Ecoscience 1:1 (1997), pp. 3-9 by Paul N.
Edwards and Stephen H. Schneider

----Begin quote-----
Seitz's proclaimed distress stemmed from the fact that the lead authors of the
SAR's Chapter 8 on detection and attribution had altered some of its text
after the November, 1995 plenary meeting of Working Group I (WGI), in Madrid,
at which time the chapter was formally "accepted" by the Working Group.
-----end quote------

And the response

---Begin Quote----
Commentators at the Madrid meeting had advised making changes to Chapter 8
for two reasons. First, they urged clarification of the meaning and scientific
content of some passages in accordance with the recommendations of reviewers
(including some criticisms introduced at the Madrid meeting itself).
Second, they
thought the structure of the chapter should be brought into conformity
with that
of other SAR chapters. In particular, a "Concluding Summary" was removed
from the final version, since no other chapter contained a similar section.
(Chapter 8, like all the rest, already had an "Executive Summary.") Sir John
Houghton, in his capacity as co-chairman of WGI, specifically authorized the
Santer, in consultation with other Chapter 8 authors, made the suggested
changes in early December. The entire SAR, including the newly revised Chapter
8, was "accepted" by the full IPCC Plenary at Rome later than month.
Santer made the changes himself, and the final version of the chapter was not
reviewed again by others. However, as he and his colleagues continually
stressed, this procedure was the normal and agreed IPCC process. Santer et al.
pointed out that no one within the IPCC objected (or had ever objected) to this
way of handling things. Replying separately in support of Santer and his
colleagues, IPCC Chairman Bert Bolin and WGI Co-Chairmen John Houghton
and L. Gylvan Meira Filho quoted the official U.S. government review of Chapter
8, which stated explicitly that "it is essential that... the chapter authors be
prevailed upon to modify their text in an appropriate manner following
discussion in Madrid."7
---end quote

-----Begin quote-------
In their responses to the Seitz/GCC charges, the Chapter 8 authors
claimed that IPCC rules required them to make the changes advised
immediately before and during the Madrid WGI Plenary. Analysis of the
IPCC rules suggests that the real situation is more ambiguous. Yet
they had three very good reasons for believing this to be the case.
First, the rules require authors to respond to commentary, to the best
of their ability and as fully as possible.14 Working Group co-chairs
have broad discretion to define this process and set time limits for
it. Nowhere do IPCC rules explicitly address the question of when a
report chapter becomes final (i.e., when all changes must cease).
Therefore, Santer et al. correctly understood that the Working Group
Chairs and the Plenary meeting itself would define the endpoint
of the revision process.
Second, report chapters are "accepted" rather than "approved."
Acceptance constitutes IPCC certification that the drafting and
review process has been successfully completed. It is an expression
of trust in the authors and the process, and is explicitly
distinguished from "approval," or detailed review on a line-by- line
basis. Operating under these definitions, the IPCC Plenary "approved"
the WGI Summary for Policymakers (SPM), but "accepted" Chapter 8. In
words, Plenary acceptance did not imply word-for-word review of the
chapter. Instead, it indicated trust that the authors had responded
appropriately and sufficiently to the review process. Therefore, the
Chapter 8 authors believed that the rules permitted them to make
changes when explicitly requested to do so by the IPCC Plenary, or in
response to peer comments received at or immediately prior to the
Third, no IPC C member nation has ever seconded the Seitz/GCC
objections.15 (Ninety-six countries were represented at the Madrid
plenary.) From this, above all, we can safely infer that Santer et
al. proceeded exactly as expected.

----end quote----

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Received on Fri Dec 22 00:48:44 2006

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