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October 12, 1996 Response
WITHOUT ANY ADHERENCE TO THE APPLICABLE IPCC PROCEDURES. I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THE IPCC RECENTLY ABANDONED THE LONGER DOCUMENT. IT HAS BEEN REPORTED TO ME, HOWEVER, THAT SOME WANT TO INCORPORATE ONE OR MORE SECTIONS OF THE ABANDONED REPORT IN THE SUMMARY FOR POLICYMAKERS, WHICH HAS BEEN RETITLED.
PLEASE EXPLAIN THE ORIGIN AND BASIS OF BOTH REPORTS AND WHY IT IS APPROPRIATE AT THIS LATE DATE TO TRY TO INCORPORATE PORTIONS OF THE ABANDONED SYNTHESIS REPORT IN THE RETITLED SUMMARY.
The following (in our view, accurate) discussion of the origin of the Synthesis Report appears in the first section of the Report itself:
"Following a resolution of the Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization (July 1992), the IPCC decided to include an examination of approaches to Article 2, the Objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its work program.
It organized a workshop on the subject in October 1994 in Fortaleza, Brazil, at the invitation of the Government of Brazil. Thereafter, the IPCC Chairman assembled a team of lead authors ... under his chairmanship to draft the Synthesis. The team produced the draft which was submitted for expert and government review and comment. The final draft synthesis was approved, line-by-line by the IPCC at its eleventh session (Rome, 11-15 December 1995), where representatives of 116 governments were present as well as 13 intergovernmental and 25 non-governmental organizations."
The synthesis report discusses each of the various issues raised in Article 2: (i) "anthropogenic interference with the climate system"; (ii) vulnerability of systems (human health and ecological and socio-economic systems) to climate change"; (iii) analytical approach to stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases; (iv) technology and policy options to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations: (v) equity and social considerations; and (vi) implications of climate change for economic development in a sustainable manner.
The synthesis report was, as required, based on the 1994 and 1995 IPCC assessments. A drafting team was assembled to assist the IPCC Chair in preparing the report. The team consisted of 26 individuals (a list of the members is attached) including the co-chairs of the IPCC is three Working Groups, the IPCC Executive Secretary and the heads
October 19. 1996 Response
three IPCC Technical Support Units. Other team members included two experts from industry, Dr. Bronson Gardner from the U.S. Global Climate Coalition and Dr. Michael Jefferson from the World Energy Council.
The final synthesis report is wholly consistent with the three working group reports of which two (Working Groups II and III) had already been approved verbatim (in Montreal in October, 1995) when the Synthesis Report was finalized, and the third (of Working Group I), was adopted in final before the Synthesis Report was completed.
2B. DID ANY PERSON IN YOUR AGENCIES PARTICIPATE IN, OR APPROVE OF, THE ORIGINAL DECISION, LATER ABANDONED, THAT THE IPCC MERELY SHOULD "ACCEPT" THE LONGER SYNTHESIS REPORT, RATHER THAN REQUIRING ITS LINE-BY-LINE APPROVAL BY GOVERNMENTS IN DECEMBER?
Answer: Dr. Watson of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as Co-Chair of Working Group II of the IPCC and a member of the Synthesis Report drafting team, was involved in discussions leading to the preparation and approval of the Report, as were other U.S. members of the IPCC Bureau, the IPCC Synthesis Report drafting team, and U.S. Delegation to the IPCC Plenary Sessions. The United States Government fully supported the adoption of the Synthesis Report in a line-by-line review at the IPCC Plenary Session in Rome, and was instrumental in assuring that government-agreed text was developed for the entire document.
20. PLEASE IDENTIFY THOSE PERSONS AND EXPLAIN WHY THE US APPARENTLY SUPPORTED THAT PROCESS.
Answer: As noted above, the U.S. government fully supported the final decision taken by the IPCC at its plenary session to adopt the IPCC Synthesis Report after a line-by-line review. In the course of preparing the Synthesis Report, numerous alternative approaches were suggested, including one which would have followed IPCC procedures used in the preparation and approval of the underlying chapters for the IPCC Second Assessment Report - in which a line-by-line review by governments at the plenary session is not part of the final approval process. The IPCC (with U.S. support) has used these procedures successfully to develop and endorse materials which are too voluminous for a line-by-line review in formal sessions to which more than 100 different governments are represented. However, it was decided that a summary paper, which could allow for such a
Synthesis Report, and the U.S. was instrumental in ensuring that the final text was developed in a process requiring consensus for its approval.
3. IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE DRAFT REPORTS OF THE THREE IPCC WORKING GROUPS FOR THE SAR AND THE DRAFT SYNTHESIS REPORT ARE LIKELY TO BE REVISED AT MEETINGS IN MONTREAL AND MADRID IN SOME SIGNIFICANT RESPECTS BEFORE DECEMBER. PLEASE PROVIDE A COPY OF THE US GOVERNMENT'S COMMENTS ON EACH SUCH DRAFT.
Answer: The texts of the papers of IPCC Working Groups I, II, and III have all been revised from the early drafts that were submitted. Revisions were based not only on extensive comments from the United States Government, private sector and non-government organizations submissions, but also on extensive submissions from other governments. Attached are copies of the final texts of the summary for policymakers from each working group. The United States concurred with the final versions of these texts during the course of plenary sessions at which the documents were reviewed line-by-line by all governments involved in the IPCC.
4. A DRAFT OF THE SO-CALLED "SYNTHESIS REPORT" FORMING PART OF
AN ARTICLE IN THE OCTOBER 16, 1995 EDITION OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL SUGGESTS THAT THE DOCUMENT ON THE INTERNET WAS PREPARED BY IPCC WORKING GROUP II, NOT WORKING GROUP I WHICH CONCENTRATES ON SCIENCE ISSUES. THE ARTICLE STATES BY DEFINITION WORKING GROUP II IS "NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF ASSESSING THE LATEST SCIENCE ON THE GREENHOUSE ISSUES."
4A. PLEASE IDENTIFY THE PORTION OF THE DRAFT SYNTHESIS REPORT
4B. WHY DID THE US IGNORE THE EXPLICIT STATEMENT "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE" ON THE DRAFT DOCUMENT AND PLACE THE DOCUMENT ON THE INTERNET?
4C. PLEASE IDENTIFY THE US SCIENTISTS WHOSE COMMENTS WERE BEING SOUGHT THROUGH THE INTERNET.
40. PLEASE PROVIDE A COPY OF THE INVITATION FOR SCIENTIST'S COMMENTS THAT WAS CARRIED ON THE INTERNET AND THE US COMMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE IPCC ON THAT DOCUMENT.
4E. TO WHAT EXTENT HAS THE US PREVIOUSLY SOLICITED COMMENTS ON DRAFT IPCC DOCUMENTS FROM SCIENTISTS THROUGH THE INTERNET OR OTHER METHODS?
WHY WERE THE OTHER METHODS NOT USED IN THIS CASE?
The IPCC Second Assessment consists of four parts: IPCC WG I on the science of climate change, IPCC WG II on analyses of impacts, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, IPCC WG III on the economic and social dimensions of climate change, and a Synthesis Report drawing from all three WG reports information relevant to interpreting Article 2 of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. For each of these four parts, the IPCC has carried out an extensive review process. After review by co-authors and by a select group of scientific experts, the IPCC conducts a paper review by governments prior to the report being considered by the IPCC Working Group Plenaries (or the full IPCC plenary in the case of the Synthesis Report) for acceptance.
As part of the government review, the IPCC distributes a copy of the draft report to more than 150 nations, to hundreds of scientific experts, and to several dozen participating non-governmental organization (NGOs) spanning the spectrum from environmental to industrial to academic that are accredited to the IPCC. The IPCC guidelines explicitly indicate that governments may wish to organize their own mechanisms for consulting experts in preparing their responses; the guidelines do require that the results of such domestic reviews be coordinated into an integrated set of comments. (Note: a copy of the IPCC guidelines is attached). The USG sought input for the preparation of its comments from (a) invited scientific experts, (b) agencies of the USG, who might themselves refer the report to experts they would select, and (c) the stakeholder community, envisioned as anyone with a special interest or expertise in
The USG interagency review process was coordinated by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR, which oversees the US Global Change Research Program) on behalf of the Department of State, which serves as the official USG contact point to the IPCC. For each IPCC report, the process involved:
the SGCR selecting a chair of the review;
the chapter coordinators identifying and soliciting names of expert scientific reviewers;
the report and/or individual chapters being
the publication in the Federal Register (and also on relevant electronic bulletin boards, etc.) of a notice of availability of the reports for review, with information on how to request a paper copy of the report and how to submit review comments;
the assembly and collation of all comments;
the interagency review, evaluation, and synthesis of comments to be included in the official USG response;
final interagency clearance of the comments; and
transmission of the comments to the IPCC.
In addition to its formally vetted, USG-accepted and collated comments, the United States also forwarded to the IPCC a notebook containing all of the original individual comments received during our review process. The entire sequence of steps described above occured within six to eight weeks in order to meet the time schedule that was set by the IPCC to assure timely publication of the Second Assessment Report.
The full text of the August 1995 draft of the Synthesis Report was made available on the Internet. This was the official government review draft of the Synthesis Report, which, as provided for under the IPCC guidelines, the United States was circulating for full review by experts in the preparation of a comprehensive set of comments. In the U.S.