Friday, January 14, 2011

Government review

I was invited to act as an expert reviewer of the IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events on behalf of the Netherlands government. In the letter of invitation, the Government reserved the right to censor my comments, in case my comments would disagree with another referee's comments or in case my comments would meet resistance from unidentified people.

I declined the invitation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First lead authors meeting, Tsukuba, January 2011

The first lead authors meeting is this week in Tsukuba (near Tokyo). The aim is to agree on an outline and allocate tasks.

The starting point is an outline that was written by a jet-lagged, non-expert committee. It is full of holes and overlaps. It is hard to set this straight, as most everyone here is jetlagged too -- and there are 30 chapters and therefore 60+ CLAs. Chapter 10 needs to be coordinated with no less than 11 other chapters.

Two things were discussed that will come to haunt us.

First, everything we write in an IPCC context is potentially subject to a Freedom of Information request -- either under national or EU law. A substantial share of authors is not used to working under those circumstances.

Second, a decision was made to disclose potential conflicts of interest -- but details are given verbally, no preparation time was given, and statements are not checked. Only a summary will be committed to paper.