What a stupid man.
Today Anthony Watts has posted a pdf file of the draft report of the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC. I won't link to the draft - it ain't ethical and besides that the final version will be out in three days.
This draft is currently undergoing an intensive line by line review at a Panel Session of the IPCC. The final version will be made available on the 27 September. That's only three days away where I live, but probably four days away given the Panel is meeting in Europe.
Here is Anthony's excuse for posting the draft:
For weeks, this document has been put in the hands of most every journalist that writes about climate issues, and many articles have been written about its contents. Given that much of the work done in it was publicly funded at universities, and because the discussion in the media has placed the issue in the public domain of discussion, plus with the IPCC Stockholm meeting to hammer out the final version convening this week, and with the announcement today that IPCC chair Rajenda Pachauri willl step down in 2015, (translation here) I feel it is time to make this document available so that the public also has the opportunity for (as the IPCC put it in their press release) line-by-line scrutiny....
...Further, the IPCC has made it clear in their Principles and Procedures statement that they embrace transparency.
... Given the keen worldwide interest, and the many articles written about the AR5 draft SPM in media with access to it, there’s no reason anymore for the public to be left out of the process. It will also be interesting to compare to the final SPM to see what the politicians have morphed the document into. Reportedly, there are some 1800 changes that have already been requested by government representatives.
So why did Anthony put up the draft report? Heck, everyone will have it in three or four days. He claims it's for transparency and so that the public can be part of the process. But those can't be the reasons because:
a) if anyone wanted to be part of the process they had their chance back a couple of years ago, when they could have signed up to be an expert reviewer. They can't be "part of the process" now. Only onlookers.
b) as far as "transparency" goes, the draft will be made public anyway "as soon as possible" after the report has been approved at the current session of the Panel. From the IPCC - Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports (top of page 5):
The drafts of IPCC Reports and Technical Papers which have been submitted for formal expert and/or government review, the expert and government review comments, and the author responses to those comments will be made available on the IPCC website as soon as possible after the acceptance by the Panel and the finalisation of the Report or Technical Paper. The IPCC considers its draft reports, prior to acceptance, to be pre-decisional, provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation.
Not only will the final approved version of the Summary for Policy Makers be made available, so will the draft, the comments on the draft and the author responses to the comments.
Anthony can't provide that. All he's got his sweaty little hands on is the draft that was floating around various places since probably around mid-August or earlier. The draft went out to Panel members at least eight weeks before this current meeting - and I believe it's dated the end of June. (I have no interest in reading it to find out. Aside from ethical considerations, I'd rather wait a couple more days and get the lot together.) The IPCC reported around 1,800 comments, which is not a huge number given that there are 195 member countries. That's less than 10 comments per country on average, which is around the same number in other years according to what I've read.
Since it obviously can't be to let the public be "part of the process", and since "transparency" is already covered by the IPCC itself, I'm left wondering what really made Anthony do such a thing.
Attention-seeking is probably his number one reason for posting the full draft. I don't think anyone else has made the full draft available. By now, most mainstream media outlets have written in general terms some of what is in the draft. And a few shady journalists and bloggers have made up stuff that isn't in the draft and pretended that it is. Anthony only got his hands on it a couple of days ago and I reckon he's feeling very left out. This is his way of getting back at all the people who didn't send him his own personal copy of what was "provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation".
I don't see any other rational reason (if you can call attention-seeking rational). Why else would Anthony publish the draft when there are only three or four days to go before the final report is released, with the previous draft, comments and author responses?
There are a couple of irrational reasons that have occurred to me:
- Anthony is trying to control the message and/or
- Anthony is indulging in his own paranoid conspiracy theory.
It could be that Anthony wants to control the message. Thing is, he doesn't know what the message is and wouldn't understand it if he did. Anthony doesn't understand climate science very well. He can read English, but most of the science itself is beyond his abilities. He doesn't even understand simple concepts like surface temperature anomalies; and he thinks that airport UHI disease can spontaneously erupt out of the blue.
Also working against him is that he's not even a two bit player in comparison with the worlds scientific organisations and climate scientists generally. No-one serious takes him seriously.
And if Anthony once aspired to being taken seriously, he knows he lost any hope of that long ago. He can't be trusted. He does not have the same values or ethics that most earth system scientists have. I don't know if he would understand what ethics means.
Paranoid conspiracy theorist
The third motivation might be that he has a paranoid conspiracy theory about the IPCC and the UN generally. What he wrote on his blog supports this explanation.
(FYI In the interest of public discourse and scrutiny, I will be posting the full widely “leaked” draft SPM later today, so that there can be comparisons worldwide of what the politicians have morphed it to – Anthony)Of course Anthony is probably unfamiliar with the IPCC processes. He might think he's going to expose something or other. He is prone to conspiracy ideation. He has an excessive distrust of government, which goes with the territory for conspiracy theorists. I doubt he'd have spent any time on the IPCC website - the IPCC is that nasty organisation that compiles climate science after all. And you couldn't expect him to read things like procedures and policies - there aren't enough pictures in those documents.
Anthony doesn't understand protocol. He thinks "transparency" means that he should see something almost before it's been written. He has no sense of proper process, of scientific rigour, of accepted practice or intergovernmental relations.
What's good for the goose...
If we apply Anthony's "rules" to himself - then it's way past time that he put his money where his mouth is and gave the public the current version of his as yet unpublished paper on Stevenson screens or whatever his new paper is all about.
Why the secrecy? What is he trying to hide? Why is he keeping it from us? He said months ago that he's had someone re-(ghost)-writing his draft so where is it? Hasn't he been able to tweak the paper to get the result he wants? Is he hiding the true facts?
His public deserves to know. (Not really - no-one deserves to be inflicted with another tormented version of "all the thermometers are wrong" Watts-style!)