Half a Year

I'm a couple days early with this, but I wanted to get this posted so I don't forget. Half a year ago (on October 7th, I believe), the IPCC announced the publication of its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Along with this announcement was a major media blitz to get people to look at the report. In response to this, I asked a natural question, when would the IPCC release the draft versions of the report and the reviewer comments on those drafts? The IPCC had said it'd release that material when it published the report, but in response to my question, the IPCC said:

The IPCC told the public it had published the report, but it also said it wouldn't release certain material because it hadn't published the report yet. That seems to clearly be a lie. The report cannot be "published" and "not published yet" at the same time. The truth is what the IPCC published for its media blitz was a draft version of its report, a draft which would undergo significant changes prior to the "final publication," a fact the IPCC failed to disclose to the public.*

That situation was then compounded in December when the IPCC published what it listed as the official report, and again, failed to provide the material it promised it would release. I asked about this:

It's now been about four more months, half a year since the IPCC engaged in its media blitz about the publication of this report, and the IPCC still hasn't released any of the material it said it'd release when it published the report. Is the IPCC ever going to publish this material? If it doesn't, would anyone care? I'm not sure. Nobody seems to care the IPCC blatantly lied during its media campaign.

*The changes go far beyond simple copy-editing, with entire paragraphs being changed, deleted or even created from scratch. Not only was this fact hidden from the public, no explanation has been provided as to how such changes are reviewed since there was no opportunity for outside reviewers to comment on them.

6 comments

  1. The IPCC has become a political instrument, not an organisation strictly based on scientific rules. It looks like a hidden attack on the successful countries to let them bleed for their successes.

  2. Hi,
    You getting anywhere on this?
    The fact that promises were made by a key organisation on climate change and not followed through is disconcerting, to say the least.
    Peter

  3. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/about/reviews/ says that review comments are "coming in April 2019". According to the Wayback Machine, this text was changed from "coming in February" at some time between March 14 and March 29.

    The changes from the final draft are (presumably) enumerated in https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/07/SR15_SPM_Approved_Trickle-Backs_Updated.pdf . The list is short enough that six months seems excessive. On that page, IPCC also says the draft is "also subject to copy-editing and changes in proof".

  4. Peter Moles not really. When I tweeted about this post to a few people, someone involved in the process saw and posted this:

    https://twitter.com/anna_pirani/status/1113891864837537794

    So that person's stated reason for delaying the release of the material is they want to wait until they get the new version of their website online before posting the material. Not because they need to, but because they want to.

  5. HaroldW:

    https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/about/reviews/ says that review comments are "coming in April 2019". According to the Wayback Machine, this text was changed from "coming in February" at some time between March 14 and March 29.

    Nice catch on noticing they've changed that page to change when they say the reviewer comments will be available. It'll be interesting to see if they get things out by the newly stated time or if they change it again.

    The changes from the final draft are (presumably) enumerated in https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/07/SR15_SPM_Approved_Trickle-Backs_Updated.pdf . The list is short enough that six months seems excessive. On that page, IPCC also says the draft is "also subject to copy-editing and changes in proof".

    That document definitely does not enumerate the changes between the FGD and copy-edited report. As far as I can tell, that document lists changes made in making the FGD, to make sure it lines up with the SPM. Even if not, the changes I referred to are a different sort. For AR5, the IPCC released a separate errata document listing changes made during the copy-edit phases (then backdated it to pretend it was posted along with the report's release, days after WUWT ran a post by me pointing out they hadn't disclosed changes they made). That document wasn't complete or accurate, but it (presumably) shows the approach they'll use with changes again. And while it may be true the IPCC says the FGD is:

    "also subject to copy-editing and changes in proof".

    The IPCC also launched a major PR campaign referring to the FGD as the final report so as far as the world is concerned, it is the final report. There are tons of media stories quoting it as the final report because of that, at least a number of which are inaccurate if one views the actual final report instead of the FGD.

    More importantly, at least to me, the IPCC touts its review process where external reviewers get to see the report and raise concerns. Substantive edits to reports made without any external review contradict that depiction. The fact entire sections can be rewritten, or even created from scratch, without any external review, is a huge problem. I think it's incredible Skeptics haven't made an issue of it. This is the second time this has happened (AR5 saw the same thing happen). Both times, the IPCC touted the FGD as the final report then silently changed entire sections of the report without any external review.

    And this time, the IPCC also used the lie about the FGD being the final report to excuse not releasing documentation they promised to release. When that excuse ran out, the IPCC simply gave up on coming up with excuses. Now, the IPCC just isn't doing what they said they would do because they don't feel like it. And Skeptics are somehow not saying a word.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *