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Response to Chairman Rohrabacher
PLEASE EXPLAIN THE APPLICABLE PROCEDURES FOR PREPARATION, REVIEW, APPROVAL, AND PUBLICATION OF THE SAR'S FINAL DRAFTS TO BE CONSIDERED AT THE DECEMBER MEETING OF THE IPCC PLENARY IN ROME AND INCLUDE THE TIMETABLE ACTUALLY PROVIDED BY THE IPCC FOR GOVERNMENTS AND OTHERS TO REVIEW AND COMMENT ON THE SAR'S AND THE RELATED SYNTHESIS REPORT. THIS SHOULD INCLUDE A DISCUSSION OF THE ROLL AND SELECTION OF LEAD AUTHORS AND OF THE PREPARATION OF SUMMARIES OF EACH ASSESSMENT.
Answer: Attached please find a copy of materials adopted at the IPCC's Tenth Session (Nairobi, 10-12 November 1994). These materials include a brief description of "The IPCC Review Process" as well as the "IPCC Procedures for Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Approval and Publication of its Reports." Please note that the latter document includes two annexes, Annex 1 on the "IPCC Workshop Policy", and Annex 2 on the "Tasks and Responsibilities for Lead Authors, Contributors and Expert Reviewers of IPCC Reports and IPCC Government Contacts."
Following publication of the IPCC's First Assessment Report in 1990, and in anticipation of beginning work on its Second Assessment Report in 1994, the IPCC sought to respond to concerns that its procedures were not sufficiently rigorous. While a strength of the IPCC has been its flexibility and its ability to avoid bureaucratic process so as to produce high-quality assessments of vital use to the international community within demanding deadlines, the IPCC nevertheless recognized the value of a more systematic approach to its assessment efforts. Consequently, the IPCC adopted the enclosed procedures, which benefitted from close interaction with the Parties and with non-governmental organizations, particularly from certain representatives of the U.S. private sector, in the development process.
Also attached, please find a copy of the timetable used in the production of the Second Assessment Report, provided by the IPCC Secretariat in Geneva.
The role of IPCC lead authors is described in the enclosed Annex 2 "Tasks and Responsibilities for Lead Authors, Contributors and Expert Reviewers of IPCC Reports and IPCC Government Contacts" to the "IPCC Procedures for Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports." In addition, Section 2 on "Organization of
Rohrabacher: October 19, 1996 Response
selected. Please note that the IPCC Working Group bureau designated one lead author from among the group selected to serve as the "convening lead author" for each chapter of the IPCC's SAR. The "convening lead author" was responsible in each case for maintaining communications with the other lead authors and ensuring that the work was prepared on time.
DID THE US AND THE IPCC FULLY COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE PROCEDURES?
Answer: By and large the IPCC followed its procedures closely and admirably in producing its Second Assessment Report. At one point, the IPCC Chair and Executive Secretary issued a letter (dated July 31, 1995) indicating that the drafting Team of the Synthesis Report would submit a lengthy document to the 11th IPCC Plenary for its "acceptance", and that a shorter summary of that document would be submitted to the 11th Plenary for line-by-line approval by governments. This letter occasioned considerable concern on the part of some representatives of the U.S. private sector who maintained, rightly, that the "IPCC Procedures" did not provide for "acceptance" of a document produced by any group other than an IPCC working group. Subsequently, the IPCC Chair issued another letter explaining that a shorter version of the Synthesis Report developed by the drafting team would be submitted for line-by-line approval by governments at the IPCC 11th Plenary, and the IPCC subsequently followed this approach. The IPCC Chair also extended the deadline for comments on the original "Synthesis Report" draft that had been circulated for comment.
1C. IS THE TIMETABLE ADEQUATE?
Answer: Communications involving over 100 countries in undertakings as mammoth as the IPCC Second Assessment Report are invariably complex. The IPCC's efforts in this regard are virtually unparalleled. While experts and governments could always use more time, they demonstrated at the 11th Plenary in Rome in December 1995, and at the plenary sessions of the working groups in Madrid, Montreal and Geneva, that the timetable, while difficult, was largely adequate.
2. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE IPCC ALSO PROPOSED TO ADOPT A LENGTHY SYNTHESIS REPORT ON "KNOWLEDGE RELEVANT TO THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 2 OF THE CONVENTION" AND AN 8 PAGE SUMMARY FOR
October 19, 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
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.
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 THE SAR FOUND ITS WAY TO THE MEDIA VIA THE INTERNET EVEN THOUGH CLEARLY MARKED "FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. DO NOT
CITE/DISTRIBUTE." THE SEPTEMBER 10, 1995 EDITION OF THE NEW
EDITION OF SCIENCE REPORTS THAT THE "SOURCE OF THE LEAK" WAS
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