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« Cryptic | Main | MSPs misled over Stern »
Thursday
Jul262012

IPCC seeks to influence UK FOI laws

For much of the year, the House of Commons Justice Committee has been conducting a post-legislative review of the Freedom of Information Act, its work taking place in the face of a concerted effort by the bureaucracy to push it into accepting the idea that the Act should be neutered.

The review has now ground to a conclusion, and the news is, on the whole quite good. For example, from the recommendations comes the welcome news that the committee favours a tightening of the legal ramifications for breaches of the Act.

The summary only nature of the section 77 offence means that no one has been prosecuted for destroying or altering disclosable data, despite the Information Commissioner’s Office seeing evidence that such an offence has occurred. We recommend that section 77 be made an either way offence which will remove the limitation period from charging. We also recommend that, where such a charge is heard in the Crown Court, a higher fine than the current £5000 be available to the court. We believe these amendments to the Act will send a clear message to public bodies and individuals contemplating criminal action.

However, one of the other recommendations is less obviously welcome, with the committee concluding that England and Wales adopt the Scottish approach to research data. This allows exemption under two different grounds - a narrow one and a broad one. The narrow exemption is for data held for future publication, the narrowness coming from the requirement that the publication date cannot be more than 12 weeks in the future. The broader, and therefore much more worrying, exemption is for data held as part of an ongoing research programme. I'm not sure that this doesn't allow those who would rather their research was not examined by outsiders simply to say that they are still using the data and that it cannot therefore be disclosed.

The whole of the university sector seems to have been keen to get a much broader exemption in place. One submission of evidence, from Universities UK is a particularly interesting case in point, which shows that those champions of openness, the IPCC, have also been taking an interest.

[...] evidence of commercial partners being put off working with UK institutions is largely anecdotal. However, in a case involving the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) recently settled by the Information Commissioner for drafts of a published paper, the University of East Anglia highlighted that:

In another matter, we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Technical Support Unit] based in Geneva, Switzerland in which they explicitly noted that release of such material would “[...] force us to reconsider our working arrangements with those experts who have been selected for an active role in WG1 AR5 [Working Group One, Fifth Assessment Report] from your institution and others within the United Kingdom.”

  

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Reader Comments (76)

They'd rather cut us out of the IPCC than have their data revealed to the folks who are paying for it? Gravy train coming off the rails?

Jul 26, 2012 at 7:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

And I wonder if someone from CRU hinted to someone at IPCC TSU that it would be helpful if they said something along those lines? I don't suppose there would be any emails though. I imagine they will have learned their lesson by now.

Jul 26, 2012 at 7:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndyS

O/T apology, but this is is relevant in that it is the EU seeking to manipulate/influence the price of carbon dioxide while the LIBOR interest-rate fixing scandal is still unravelling.

Barbara is too clever by half. note Poland singled out, yet GERMANY IS OPPOSED TO INTERVENTION!

NOTE ALSO THAT THE BIG ENERGY COMPANIES LOVE THE MARKET-FIXING! surely with LIBOR still unravelling, the Energy Companies and the EU should not be attempting to FIX the price!

25 July: Reuters: Barbara Lewis: UPDATE 2-EU Commission presents plan to boost carbon market
Some in industry support intervention, others oppose it
Poland leads opposition within EU member states
Market drops around 5 percent
The proposals are the latest in a series of efforts to fix a market designed to be the mainstay of the EU's climate policy.
In the past it has been undermined by scams. Now it is over-supplied by millions of allowances because of recession.
"The EU ETS has a growing surplus of allowances built up over the last few years. It is not wise to deliberately continue to flood a market that is already over-supplied," Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said...
On Wednesday, the market dropped back below 7 euros, falling around 5 percent from the previous close.
To tackle the surplus, the Commission, the EU's executive, has decided on a series of steps, which it hopes can offer a solution in time for the next phase of the ETS, beginning 2013.
They include delaying the auction of new allowances and clarifying an article of EU law on auction time-tabling.
There are no firm numbers in the Commission's draft proposal, although a Commission analysis presents three options -- withholding 400 million, 900 million or 1.2 billion allowances over the first three years of the market's next phase.
"What we have been saying is that the surplus is up to 1.4 billion, but I understand from the technical experts we have to have certain room. You cannot eat up all the flexibility in the system so 1.2 billion as far as they can see, that's probably the maximum," Hedegaard told Reuters...
After the Commission's summer break, the outline proposal and analysis will be debated by officials from all member states at a meeting of the Climate Change Committee on Sept. 19...
Also later this year, the Commission will present its first report on the functioning of the carbon market, which could launch a debate on the deeper reform many say is necessary.
Such structural change could include the permanent, rather than temporary withdrawal of allowances, but it would require much longer political debate...
The prime EU opponent is Poland, which is dependent on carbon-intensive coal. Grateful for the economic reprieve provided by a weak carbon price, it opposes any intervention...
Germany, however, also has a powerful heavy industry lobby.
Reacting to Wednesday's news, the German economy ministry said it saw no need to intervene, especially in difficult economic times, while the nation's environment ministry had yet to comment...
A statement signed by a group of energy firms, including Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and Dong Energy welcomed the proposals...
Others in industry said there was no case to remove permits.
"In a recession, in a very deep economic crisis, of course nobody in his right mind would try to artificially increase this unilateral EU cost," Peter Botshchek, energy expert at CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council, said...
Benchmark EU carbon was trading down 4.58 percent at 6.87 euros at 1610 GMT.
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/25/eu-ets-idINL6E8IPCLZ20120725

Jul 26, 2012 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

As the IPCC has such a large UK component, and we have invested so much into supporting it, this is another example of using the institutional name as a supposedly independent body making comment, when it is quite obvious that it is the people already challenged, who don't want further scrutiny, that have penned this IPCC response.

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

The report can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/justice-committee/news/foi-report/

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarcel Crok

The IPCC position is bluff. They rely on volunteers and England and Wales are a big supplier of such volunteers.

The IPCC does not have legal standing either.

English & Welsh law is quite clear: All material submitted to international organizations by residents subject to FOI, is subject to FOI.

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Gnomes in Geneva.
=============

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Hey Richard, there is rich turf over @ Judy's on the Cato Report thread, much trampled by swine.
====================

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The data being exempt because of ongoing programmes is a REAL problem! Essentially this will give so called climate scientists like Jones, Mann et al a free hand in NEVER releasing their data simply because they can say its being used in a programme that is ongoing!

The easiest thing to do would be to take the desires of the University and then do the exact opposite!

Regards

Mailman

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

'I'm not sure that this doesn't allow those who would rather their research was not examined by outsiders simply to say that they are still using the data and that it cannot therefore be disclosed.'

I am and I would take a good bet that CRU will trying this one on the day it becomes possible .
And its dam useful to , for 'still using ' can mean a lot of things .

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

What is needed is to bypass the FOIA by making scientific research subject to the Fraud Act 2006.

An amendment making creation of fraudulent data to gain pecuniary advantage a criminal offence would allow questioning under oath. Also this would bring academic research into line with commercial research where, for patent purposes, research notebooks and computer entries are recorded formally so they can't be retrospectively changed so prove when key IPR [or fraud] comes into existence.

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

As Mailman pointed out the exemption for ongoing research is rather worrying. I can understand academics being reluctant to release data when they still have a lot of work to do and rivals might steal a march on them. Also it is possible that preliminary data might be misleading if the research involves measurements in many locations and the only ones available so far are from a restricted area.

However, unless the science is "settled" research will always be ongoing. Perhaps the solution is to ensure that all data gathered in the course of work described in published research is made freely available no later than the date of publication of the paper(s) based on that research.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Great so the broad exemption runs a very big coach and horses through the whole F.O.I. law all they have to do is say the data is part of some research they have just remembered they are doing and that's it nada !
Bye F.O.I it was nice while it lasted !

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

That's quite a significantly oily little attempt from the great international body put on earth to save us all. So now we have evidence they are seeking to limit the scope of FOI in a participating nation to suit their needs for secrecy! They expect a level of secrecy but we can't be sure how secret, as that can't be elicited normally because they are outside a single jurisdiction, but sneakily stick their ore in when invited (who invited them?)

Does anyone know if the IPCC have made similar noises about any other nations secrecy laws? I mean I'm sure they're just loving North Korea's ;) but how about the US? I thought the US FOI laws were simlar to the UK's if not more liberal.

Have the IPCC complained about the US FOI laws too?

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Politically, any restriction on FOI requests is like manna from the sky. Whatever the rabid warmists would propose, it'd be child's play to retort by saying: "You're trying to impose societal changes based on secret data!" and "If you believe the world's future is at stake why do you care about holding data for the foreseeable future?"

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

We are dealing with an organisations which claims it can predict future climate using models with 5 basic physics' errors, two elementary, two subtle, the last ['back radiation'], a mistake from meteorology.

Because continued funding requires the fraud continues, the IPCC will encourage bent academics to falsify data, as has been done probably since the mid 1990s. The ploy to restrict the FOIA is inevitable.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

To my mind, this IPCC "contribution" has the "fingerprint" of AR5 WG1 Co-Chair Thomas <the planet might be better off if [gas prices] soared to “three to four” times its current level> Stocker written all over it.

There's some CG2 correspondence [h/t Paul Matthews] between Poor Phil and Stocker [2440.txt Stocker to Jones circa May 5/09] in which Stocker had opined that:

However, the Arhus Resolution (sic), it seems to me, had another motivation: open access to environmental data associated with damage, spills, pollution; the latter word is mentioned twice -”climate” never. So to take this convention and turn it around appears to me like a perversion.

One important point to consider is whether Arhus really applies to the IPCC activities. In no way are we involved in decision making. We assess and provide scientific information. The decision makers are elsewhere. More than ever need we be aware of this separation!

The mileage of some may vary, but consider the first of the "three pillars" of the Arhus Convention (which may differ from Stocker's "Arhus Resolution") according to Wikipedia (a source I'm usually reluctant to rely on):

Access to information: any citizen should have the right to get a wide and easy access to environmental information. Public authorities must provide all the information required and collect and disseminate them and in a timely and transparent manner. They can refuse to do it just under particular situations (such as national defence) [10]; [11] UNECE, 2006)

In light of the above, how on Gaia's green earth can the UEA/IPCC objections be ... uh ... sustained?!

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

If you want to contact the IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit the you can find them here:

Met Office, Fitzroy Road
Exeter EX1 3PB
United Kingdom
Tel: + 44 (0) 1392 88 6212
Fax: + 44 (0) 1392 88 5681
E-mail: ipccwg2@metoffice.com
TSU Head: Prof. Jean Palutikof
http://www.ipcc-wg2.org/index.html

Jul 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Palutikof, all the way from Australia?

Given the support (/sarc) provided by RealClimate to AR4-WG2 when the organic waste found itself in close proximity to the moving rotors, one would have thought newer faces might have been useful.

Jul 26, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I suspect that UEA was being liberal with the truth when they said

... we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU based in Geneva, Switzerland

Whilst it is true that the IPCC is based in Geneva the TSU units seem to be based in the USA (WG1 TSU), UK (WG2 TSU), The Netherlands (WG3 TSU) and Japan (Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Inventories TSU).
None of the TSU's look to be in Geneva so I suspect the TSU complaining was the one run by their friends in the Met Office. It wouldn't have looked as good if they had said
... we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU based in the Met Office, Exeter

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

@TerryS
Your info is two years out of date. IPCC and WG1 are in Switzerland, WG2 in the US, WG3 in Germany, and Task Force in Japan.

@Hilary
The IPCC as such is not subject to Aarhus. However, as soon as an IPCC report is cited in (proposed) regulation or citation in any of the parties to the convention (Europe except Switzerland and Iceland, and Central Asia), it will fall under Aarhus.

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Re: Richard

D'oh!

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM | Marcel Crok

The report can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/justice-committee/news/foi-report/

Thanks, Marcel ... and from that link one can (eventually) find:

Conclusions and Recommendations

and evidence submitted by (amongst others)

His Grace

and David Holland

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

ul 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM | TerryS

I suspect that UEA was being liberal with the truth when they said

... we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU based in Geneva, Switzerland

I think it is important to note here that according to the parliamentary Justice Committee report: 7 The pre-publication exemption (section 22) and health and safety exemption (section 38), they clearly state that they themselves have had communications from the IPCC:

In another matter, we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Technical Support Unit] based in Geneva, Switzerland...

My emphasis above.

Maybe they are being sloppy and are just passing on the UEA statements as if the IPCC spoke to them directly, but that seems a strange error for a parliamentary committee to make.

I think this makes this quite a significant issue and I would maintain that, until stated otherwise, this UK government record shows the IPCC is directly trying to influence policy of one of its particpating nations.

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Re: TLITB

My information was out of date. They are now based in Geneva.

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Richard Tol

The IPCC as such is not subject to Aarhus. However, as soon as an IPCC report is cited in (proposed) regulation or citation in any of the parties to the convention (Europe except Switzerland and Iceland, and Central Asia), it will fall under Aarhus.

I'm not disputing your interpretation, Richard. But, apart from the fact that I seem to recall that Aarhus was "birthed" by the UN/UNEP (or one of the multitude of acronymic offspring thereof), would your interpretation not be rightfully tagged as yet another instance of the oh-so-transparent IPCC falling back on "do as we say, but not as we do"?!

And (even if my recollection of the genesis of Aarhus is incorrect) doesn't Stocker's:

However, the Arhus Resolution (sic), it seems to me, had another motivation: open access to environmental data associated with damage, spills, pollution; the latter word is mentioned twice -”climate” never. [...] (emphasis added -hro)

strike you as being somewhat counter to the spirit and intent of Arhus - not to mention counter to the professed "open and transparent" policies, procedures and practices of the IPCC?!

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM | TerryS

Sorry I think we are at cross purposes here, my fault :) I was more interested in your implication that the IPCC representation was just to the UEA (which I too initially thought), when I read the parliamentary report however I noticed that the committee say that the IPCC spoke to them direct!

I find it fascinating that the parliamentary report indicate that the IPCC made a submission directly to them (though I can't see it in the submissions refs yet) this seems to put the IPCC in a dubious position for attempting influence - maybe it's just me who thinks this?

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

The "IPCC TSU based in Geneva".

As others have observed, it is a TSU for the Working Group 1 of the IPCC, not the IPCC as a whole. David Holland has raised interesting questions about the legal relationship between the IPCC (which is an intergovernmental organization) and an IPCC Working Group, which is a task force of scientists working as quasi-volunteers.

In the case at hand, we know from CLimategate emails that Phil Jones lobbied Thomas Stocker intensively against FOI. The TSU in question is controlled by Stocker. Is there evidence that anyone other than Stocker authorized this letter?

Is the full text of the letter cited by Universities UK available? Is the letter actually to Universities UK or, I wonder, is it merely a recycling of Stocker's letter to UEA?

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Bah! Disclosure denialists!

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

I see that it is the UEA after all: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmjust/96/9610.htm#note369

208. Professor Diamond told us he did not think there was an "enormous" amount of evidence of funding going to other countries because of the fear of disclosure but "the Act is still in its infancy" and: "We are in immense global competition to undertake research, and it is the top research that is absolutely essential given the competitive nature of the UK over the next few years. We need to ensure that we are able to undertake research absolutely properly, and anything that had that impact should be thought about very carefully."[368] Universities UK observed that proving a negative, that funding was not awarded to domestic universities, was difficult:

[...] evidence of commercial partners being put off working with UK institutions is largely anecdotal. However, in a case involving the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) recently settled by the Information Commissioner for drafts of a published paper, the University of East Anglia highlighted that:


In another matter, we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Technical Support Unit] based in Geneva, Switzerland in which they explicitly noted that release of such material would "[...] force us to reconsider our working arrangements with those experts who have been selected for an active role in WG1 AR5 [Working Group One, Fifth Assessment Report] from your institution and others within the United Kingdom."[369]

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Ah sorry ignore my last posts I have reading comprehension issues with these committee reports I missed the previous line
"...the University of East Anglia highlighted that:"

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Found it.

The quote is from the ICO decision FER0362279 on my EIR request for IPCC-related documents presently under appeal to the Information Tribunal. The ICO decision said, recapping a University submission which was not provided to me at the time (I FOI'd a few of them and will check),:

41. It went on to explain that, “This is an issue not only for this University but also for the entire academic sector within the United Kingdom. Disclosure of draft documents would have a chilling effect on the willingness of other academics to work with the United Kingdom. In another matter, we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU based in Geneva, Switzerland in which they explicitly noted that release of such material would “…force us to reconsider our working arrangements with those experts who have been selected for an active role in WG1 AR5 from your institution and others within the United Kingdom.”

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

@Steve McI
The IPCC Secretariat is in Geneva. The WG1 TSU is in Berne.

@Hilary
Aarhus is UNECE, Economic Commission for Europe, so it applies to selected UN members only.

Stocker can say what he likes, but the relevant authorities have put climate and energy firmly under "environment" in Aarhus terms. In fact, the Information Commissioner of Ireland has ruled that the National Asset Management Authority (!) falls under Aarhus, because its properties affect the environment.

I strongly disagree with Stocker. The IPCC should be transparent, and should support transparency in climate research.

A large minority of the IPCC Bureau is from autocratic countries, and a majority from countries that are not particularly transparent, so I am not holding my breath.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

in a case involving the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) recently settled by the Information Commissioner

The decision notice for that case is available here (pdf)

Paragraph 41 is the the one they quote.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I'll try again, but I also see that Steve found it.
http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/decisionnotices/2012/fer_0362279.ashx

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Omnologos:

"Palutikof, all the way from Australia?" Yes of course, she is an IPCC stalwart and former Director of CRU and went to Oz to help push the carbon tax.

This is a common tactic, Diane Liverman from Oxford Environmental Change Institute, (originally set up by Martin Parry, an IPCC major figure, and where “Heatwave’s ‘R Us” Myles Allen works), is now at Arizona University running a new Climate Institute with Jonathan Overpeck. She was also a member of the NAS panel, "America's Climate Choices". Tom Wigley of NCAR, is a former CRU director.

The Potsdam Institute have former Greenpeace activist Malte Meinshausen installed at Melbourne University, he trained at Oxford, where Crispin Tickell set up Green College and made George Monbiot a Fellow. Co-incidentally, Tickell is "Advisor at Large" to the President of Arizona State University (2004 -present). Wheels within wheels, within wheels.

So you get "consensus" amongst a collection of "climate institutions" without it being immediately obvious that the same people are involved. "How can so many different institutions get it so wrong" is the constant challenge to skeptics.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

Jean Palutikoff is a CRU alumnus/a and a CLimategate correspondent.

Phil Jones told Palutikoff on June 4, 2008 that CRU had deleted IPCC documents to forestall David Holland's FOI request. This was a few days after the delete-all-emails request.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

OK, I've done a little more digging in my records regarding the IPCC letter. The results are typical for UEA and IPCC.

I had asked for an unpublished document cited in the IPCC AR4 First Order Draft that had been sent to Lead Authors at CRU. Under IPCC rules (and transparency), unpublished articles used in a First Order Draft are supposed to be archived in a hard copy with a known location. UEA refused.

I appealed to the ICO. During the ICO's consideration, the UEA made a number of submissions to the ICO, none of which were copied to me. One of these submissions referred to a letter from what is now called an "IPCC TSU". The ICO decision cited this UEA submission. At that point, I still hadn't seen the UEA submission.

I sent an FOI request to the ICO for the UEA submissions that I hadn't seen. They provided me some innocuous ones but withheld others. They withheld the UEA submission containing the IPCC reference.

So no one's seen this letter. What was provided to the Committee was fourth-hand: Universities UK cited an ICO decision that cited a UEA submission that cited the IPCC letter.

In the process, they've ended up misrepresenting who the letter was from, as Richard Tol points out, since the letter almost certainly did not come from Geneva as stated by the Committee, but from Phil Jones' pal, Thomas Stocker, in Berne.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Roy,
I see no reason they could not take a similar approach to what the genetics foks do: if they want to publish using new data (genetic sequences) they must archive those data in GENBANK. All journals have this requirement. They don't want others to use the data? Simple - don't publish. I know of one researcher who has been sitting on one significant sequence for more than twenty years - no one knows what it looks like because he is not required to share it if he doesn't talk about it in a published paper.

Climate data need not be archived in a central repository to follow the same concept - just make it a requirement, of every journal, that the data must be freely available somewhere for it to be published. And require that the data be placed in the designated archive before the paper is accepted. They don't want others to use it? Simple. Wait to publish until they ARE ready.

Jul 26, 2012 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan C.

Sorry to intrude on a heavyweight star studded thread but just going back to the original post by the Bish :

The broader, and therefore much more worrying, exemption is for data held as part of an ongoing research programme. I'm not sure that this doesn't allow those who would rather their research was not examined by outsiders simply to say that they are still using the data and that it cannot therefore be disclosed.

Do we know how much of this wording is exact? It needs to be clarified but one explanation would be quite acceptable imho, ie if it is new data related to a future publication then I have no problem with them withholding it. However if as is the case with Mann and Mannian regurgitation papers the data has already been used in a published paper, then even if it might be used again in yet another paper, it should not be withheld.

Jul 26, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Registered CommenterDung

While off-topic to the question of IPCC influence, I found this interesting:

206. Professor Diamond told us the issue was not one of intellectual property: "Under the Economic and Social Research Council, all data collected using public funds—certainly in the social sciences—have to be lodged at the data archive, where the information is available for re-analysis by bona fide researchers from anywhere in the world.
Source "Professor Diamond" is Ian Diamond, Vice-Chancellor of University of Aberdeen.

I wonder whether this archiving requirement is applicable beyond the stated regime of "social sciences".

Jul 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

The broader exemption means that researchers need only release material specific to the paper they have or are in the process of publishing. If, for example, I cherrypicked data for my report from my general depository of data, I would need to release the cherrypicked part, but he rest of it, the portion that reflects badly on my conclusions, would be verboten: background of ongoing research.

This will go back to Phil Jones: if you want to disagree, go out and get your own damn data.

The FOIA here is clearly not focusing on what data was gathered on the taxpayers' ticket, but only what was or is to be published on the taxpayers' ticket. This is similar to asking Mann in court if he, indeed, put "this" data into his graph, not if he removed "that" information from inclusion in his graph.

Neutered, indeed. And eminently defensible, but challenge, impossible. It is what it is, and we have no right to ask what it might have been. Even if we paid for it all.

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

"Professor Diamond"

Any relation..?

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Once again we have bunch of part time volunteers, employed by various public authorities, and mostly paid by the taxpayer, passing themselves off as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I will bet dollars to doughnuts that there is no letter from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - just Thomas Stocker and his pals. Their problem is not the FOIA but the Aarhus Convention and the EIR.

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

DennisA: '"Palutikof, all the way from Australia?" Yes of course, she is an IPCC stalwart and former Director of CRU and went to Oz to help push the carbon tax.'

The link seems to be that UEA is at the core of UK Common Purpose [the VC is allegedly very senior]. CP allegedly uses the IPCC fraud as part of its indoctrination technique. Rudd and Gillard are involved. What is CP going to do now it knows it has been deceived over the science by the IPCC and in reality, carbon trading and the windmills are a front for the Mafia: http://www.examiner.com/article/global-warming-the-oxburgh-incident-and-the-italian-job

Jul 26, 2012 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

HaroldW

Professor Diamond's claims about ESRC policy are over-stated. Possibly considerably over-stated. I have had a lot of experience of their procedures. If you have a data set generated under a grant from ESRC you are cetainly required to submit it for inspection / approval. But a decision is then made as to whether it is worthwhile adding it to the data archive. By no means are ALL data archived and my own experience is that the decision criteria are quite conservative. If you have what looks like a boring set of data "likely to be of interest only to specialists" the odds are it will NOT be archived.

Jul 26, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kenendy

Alan Kennedy -
Thanks for that comment. While we're diverging from the narrow topic of FoI, I think that the integrity of research would be improved more by concentrating on strong archival policies, so I was rather hopeful that there was at least some concerted effort to enforce data archiving. Archiving policies should include both raw data (and any calibration method/software appertaining thereto), and the data/code for analysis results.

I share the concerns expressed about access to unfinished papers, and see no particular FoI value attaching to drafts of papers being exchanged among authors, editors and reviewers. That said, Steve McIntyre has detailed the request which occasioned the IPCC comment, and in that particular case describing it as a draft seems to be disingenuous. Once the document leaves the circle of persons who are trying to revise it, a better description is a preliminary release. It was this preliminary release which affected the content of the IPCC FOD. A transparent IPCC would have provided this.

Jul 26, 2012 at 6:51 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Amateurs. Why not keep the old rules and just price FOI requestors out of the market:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1231898--toronto-school-board-will-hand-over-work-order-data-for-3-5-million"

Jul 26, 2012 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Anon

The WG I Technical Support Unit, which manages the organizational and administrative activities of the Working Group, is hosted by the University of Bern, Switzerland and funded by the Government of Switzerland.

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

The Leopard In The Basement @ Jul 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM

"but sneakily stick their ore in..."

Nah that would be that evil denier, McIntyre, who wants to stick his ore in. The nice IPCC doesn't want anything to do with ore at all. Of course if they got a chance they wouldn't be above wielding an oar.

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered Commenteracementhead

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