Saturday, February 9, 2013

{#8} D.LaFramboise The Delinquent Author - Clear as Mud

[edited evening Feb10, 2013]

This is chapter eight from Donna LaFramboise's book 
The Delinquent Teenager: "Clear as Mud"

For an introduction explaining why I'm reviewing this piece of work, please click here.

{Courier font identifies LaFramboise's words
Laframboise, (2011-10-09). T D T W W M W T C E (Kindle Locations 195-201). Ivy Avenue Press. Kindle Edition. }

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8 - Clear as Mud   Because window panes are transparent, we can see through them. But a window into which no one bothers to peer can become so splattered with mud that it turns opaque. The people on the other side of the window, the insiders, may not notice the state of the glass. They may sincerely believe all is well. 
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Another emotional set-up guaranteed to prejudice and tune the ears of an audience that is already predisposed to hear a soothing story of scientific mischief and bromides of no-worries regarding those planet warming greenhouse gases we keep injecting into our thin atmosphere.

It's time to ask: Why do people accept Donna's shallow evidence?  

Most of her words are juvenile contrived one-sided gossipy type hearsay meant to work on emotions.  There hasn't been any dispassionate exposition that builds on evidence.  A lot of "what ifs" and "just imagines" spiced with tales of vampires and cops - but, as for clear charges and evidence of malfeasance... none yet.

Before Donna goes on too much about the IPCC's "opaque windows" - Ms. LaFramboise should do something about her own opaque spectacles.
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When the committee that examined IPCC policies and procedures posted a questionnaire on its website, those with direct experience of that organization were given an opportunity to voice their concerns. Outsiders also got a chance to express theirs. Surprisingly, both groups reported large amounts of mud. It turns out that few people understand how the IPCC makes some of its most important decisions. 
This is an embarrassing revelation. For years, IPCC leaders have boasted that this organization is a model of transparency. According to them, it's one of the reasons we should have faith in IPCC findings. 
In 2007 chairman Pachauri told a newspaper : "So you can't think of a more transparent process...than what we have in the IPCC." In 2009 he insisted in a magazine interview : "The IPCC is a totally transparent organization...Whatever we do is available for scrutiny at every stage."
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"Large amounts of mud" - Donna's got no room for any benefit of doubt, does she.
An investigative journalist would explain about the IPCC meteoric growth, in size; complexity; public profile.  She would have also reviewed the strategic campaign of character assassination, that the IPCC has been subjected to over the past decade.

OK, so the IPCC questionnaire defined areas that needed improvement.  But, why the malevolent casting.  In my romp through the answers I saw nothing that spoke of scandal.  Need for improvement, sure.

That's Donna tactic, taking small flaws and pimples and focusing on them to the exclusion of the whole body of evidence.  Earth Sciences by their very nature have insolvable uncertainties built in.  So for those whose only goal is to stop our society from A) recognizing and B) addressing our atmospheric greenhouse gas situation have plenty of loose ends to do their mischief with.

As for the IPCC, it's a big organization, mostly made of volunteers, it does no science, it does the best it can to collate and describe the state of the science every ±five years.  The level of perfection or worse this attitude that any little error is proof of malevolent intention, is nothing less than crazy-making, {at times bordering on hate mongering}.  When we need to focus on learning.

Also, please notice how Donna doesn't have anything to say about how the IPCC has adopted changes in light of this review and others.  Donna claims the IPCC is a delinquent teenager but a look at IPCCs behavior since all this uproar, reveal a very mature entity.  

Reading the author's conniving words and sinister insinuations, she's looking more like the delinquent with every new page.
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In early 2010, when more than 250 US scientists signed an open letter defending the IPCC, the letter declared : "We conclude that the IPCC procedures are transparent and thorough..." 
But there's the party line and then there are the experiences of real people. The person whose remarks begin on page three of the collected questionnaire answers is not an IPCC novice. He or she has been a contributing author, a lead author, and even a coordinating lead author. Yet, when asked to comment on how the IPCC selects its lead authors, this person says: "I'm not clear how this actually happens..." 
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2c. Selection of lead authorsI'm not clear how this actually happens, but in my experience the authors I've worked with have been very well chosen~ ~ ~  
1. What role(s), if any, have you played in any of the IPCC assessment processes?Contributing author, Lead Author, Coordinating Lead Author 
2a. Scoping and identification of policy questionsI've never been involved in identifying "policy questions". My role as an author has been to assess the science, not look at policy, and the IPCC assessments MUST be about science, not "policy questions" 
2b. Election of Bureau, including Working Group chairsI'm not aware of how this works, and it has not (to date) affected work I've done as an author in WG1.
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It sounds like someone who doesn't concern them self much with such details, "My role as an author has been to assess the science, not look at policy, and the IPCC assessments MUST be about science, not "policy questions""
Such details would be interesting to the investigative journalist, but as is becoming clear Donna has a product to peddle - and I'm starting to think that product is the assassination of the IPCC as an effective working body.
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As it turns out, such confusion is widespread among IPCC insiders. In answering this question these people used words such as mysterious, closed-door, and black box. They said things like: 
Selection of lead authors in my view is the most important decision in the IPCC process, and it is not transparent.
2c. Selection of lead authorsSelection of lead authors in my view is the most important decision in the IPCC process, and it is not transparent. It is important that the author teams both function well as a group, and encompass the full range of credible views and expertise on topics being assessed; to accomplish this ideal selection is a challenging task. I expect that greater effort is needed to broaden the experience of the TSUs and reach out to a broader range of potential authors to improve selection of authors.~ ~ ~ IPCC WG3 reports have suffered by the limited engagement of business and industry, and the mainstream of engineering practice as authors and reviewers. This weakness is more important if WG3 would like to make its reports more practical, since the bulk of experience and expertise on practical matters resides in business and industry and engineering practice. There have been some successes in engagement by WG3 (e.g. the Aviation and CCS Special Reports), but the weakness in engagement remains and is resulting in unbalanced author teams which raises the risk of biased reports. Effort is needed to enhance input from business and industry and engineering, which might be enhanced by broadening the background of TSU staff and measuring/managing the balance of engagement.
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After being [either a lead author or a coordinating lead author] several times, I still have no idea how I was selected. This is unacceptable. (p. 180) 
2a. Scoping and identification of policy questions 
I see no problem on this score. 
2b. Election of Bureau, including Working Group chairs 
The governments ought to find a way to make these decisions more transparent, but I do not believe this area presents a big problem at the current time. 
2c. Selection of lead authors 
The TSUs and the bureau need to be much more transparent about author selection. While the issues are delicate, and individual cases should not become public, the specific criteria used should be stated publicly, and the nature of the process described. After being an LA or CLA several times, I still have no idea how I was selected. This is unacceptable. 
It has always been unclear how this has been undertaken(p.126) 
2b. Election of Bureau, including Working Group chairsI don't know much about how this election takes place. It might be useful to publish minutes of the meeting, but I can also see arguments why this may not be possible. The election has to revolve around the developed and developing world and is constrained by which countries want to contribute to the running of the Technical Support Units. Perhaps there should be information given as to how many people and countries wanted to take on the roles?2c. Selection of lead authorsIt has always been unclear how this has been undertaken up to and including AR4. Maybe there will be more information given about how the AR5 teams (CLAs, Las and REs) have been recently chosen. I realize that there has to be geographical and developed/developing country balance. One possibility might be to publish all the nominations together with those selected.
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None of this makes the IPCC look good. 
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If you put Donna's selected quotes back into the respondent's own words, they take on a less scandalous, more realistic tone.  It's like Donna has chosen to place superhuman expectations onto the IPCC, then sees only deception and attempted fraud when her exalted standards aren't met.

OK then, everyone, including the IPCC appreciates the selection process needed to evolve, improvements were needed and are being implemented.  Speaking of which, why doesn't Donna share that side of the story:  "IPCC Embraces Recommendations - moves forward" ?

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Doing a poor job of explaining how things work isn't a crime. Many large organizations no doubt do this equally badly. The problem is that the IPCC told us this was a yardstick by which its credibility should be judged. Again and again, we've been told it excels at transparency. But it does not. 
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Look at those IPCC links I've shared.  The IPCC provides tons of information including all the names of authors.  It's easy to search out the CVs of who you're curious about.
Why doesn't Donna report on any of that?
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In fact, Climate Bible(1) authors are chosen via a secretive process. First, the IPCC receives nominations from governments - but it declines to make public the names of these nominees. Second, the IPCC fails to explain what selection criteria it uses. Third, when it announces who has been chosen, the only piece of information it feels obliged to provide is the name of the country the author represents. 
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Donna: What would opening up the selection process accomplish?  
Add another politicized battleground to an already over politicized landscape?
It seems like an unreasonable expectation.
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In what other context, when a hiring announcement is made, is a person's nationality announced yet no mention is made of their specific credentials? 
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What's this mean?  When the authors are announced, their backgrounds are known.  

Hiring is often a delicate operation and leaders have always preferred to do it behind closed doors.  They figure the final product will speak for itself.  It's no indication of deception.  
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We know that authors' resumes are submitted as part of the nomination process - but they are then locked in a drawer. It would be easy for the IPCC to post these resumes on its website, but it chooses not to.
In other words, an organization that claims to be utterly transparent expects us to simply take it on faith that the most qualified people were nominated and selected. Moreover, it feels no obligation to provide the slightest bit of evidence that those who got the job are, in fact, experts. 
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Take a look:
Climate Change 2007: Synthesis ReportAnnex IV.1 Core Writing Team members 
How does the IPCC work? - Structure 
IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Authors and Review Editors                           As of 31 January 2013
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When the committee that posted the online questionnaire delivered its own report in August 2010, it said the IPCC lacks transparency in other areas, as well. For example, it's far from clear what criteria the IPCC uses when deciding who should fill senior management positions. Moreover, while a general outline is drawn up by a small group of individuals before a new Climate Bible(2) gets underway, those who aren't invited to take part in this step have no idea how this happens – or who is involved. 
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Donna still hasn't made a case for why such information which is traditionally kept private by employers must be made public?  The names of the authors and their accomplishments are easily available.  
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While the IPCC is supposed to survey the scientific literature, it has never supplied its authors (remember, some of them are in their 20s) with guidelines as to how to complete this task. The manner in which this has occurred over the past two decades is, therefore, anyone's guess – a situation rather opposite to complete transparency. 
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What are we supposed to make of Donna's claim in light of all this:


The IPCC's work is guided by a set of principles and clear procedures for all the main activities of the organization. This page serves as a repository for all official procedural documents guiding IPCC activities.
The IPCC's processes and procedures are constantly being reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain strong, transparent and reliable. For recent changes to IPCC procedures and related information see IPCC Review of Processes and Procedures which covers all the recent changes to IPCC procedures approved by the Panel in the period 2010-2012.
The document Principles Governing IPCC Work [Governing] lays down the role of the IPCC, its organization, participation in it and its key procedures, and establishes comprehensiveness, objectivity, openness and transparency as guiding principles of IPCC Work. The IPCC is open to member countries of the UN and WMO. All major decisions about the organization and its work are taken by the Panel during the Plenary Sessions.
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The IPCC's transparency shortcomings have been obvious for some time. In 2005 Steve McIntyre, a Canadian with a Masters degree in mathematics and a flair for statistics, was invited by the IPCC to be an expert reviewer for what would become the 2007 edition of the Climate Bible(3). 
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McIntyre's record isn't quite as sterling as Donna would have us believe.  Here a rather honest assessment taken from one of the stolen UEA-CRU emails:
7/5/2004: Many of us in the paleo field get requests from skeptics (mainly a guy called Steve McIntyre in Canada) asking us for series. Mike and I are not sending anything, partly because we don’t have some of the series he wants, also partly as we’ve got the data through contacts like you, but mostly because he’ll distort and misuse them. 
And in fact, McIntyre's subsequent record has been one of distortion, misrepresentation and occasional harassment.  He also seems to think scientist must answer his requests, even when the scientific data is available through other normal channels.
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McIntyre, who writes the blog, was by then a well-known IPCC critic, so this invitation was a promising sign. But it didn't take long for matters to go off the rails. 
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Yea, want to learn a few things about this character that Donna won't share.

Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginningPosted on February 4, 2010 
Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel
Posted on February 8, 2010 | 
McIntyre’s concerted efforts to derail the science and harass scientists
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McIntyre noticed that, in a particular section of the report, the IPCC was basing its arguments on two research papers that hadn't yet been published. In itself, this should ring alarm bells. Since the wider scientific community had been given no opportunity to scrutinize them, it was surely premature to consider them solid pieces of evidence. 
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Donna hasn't established why this should "raise red flags."  
She hasn't acknowledge the IPCC long vetting process or looked into the particulars of this particular case.  Accusations and undertones of conspiracy is all her words have offered.
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McIntyre asked to examine the underlying data associated with these two papers. Since IPCC rules say it's the job of its technical support units to provide expert reviewers with material that isn't readily available, he contacted the head of the appropriate unit."
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An investigative journalist would have examined the particulars and Mr. McIntyre, but Donna is content to cast a net of suspicion against the IPCC so she won't do it. 

See the thing is, Mr. McIntyre's the kind of guy who thinks he's very special and anything he asks for, no matter how outside the normal channels, he deserves - NOW.  

He is passionate in his commitment to forestall any political actions to reduce society's greenhouse gas injections into our thin atmosphere.  And as the above links explain, he has learned how to use Freedom of Information Act Requests as weapons of harassment, intimidation and interference.

The incident Donna refers to is McIntyre's contrived indignation that the IPCC wasn't going to play fetch dog for him, that is, to get information that McIntyre should have been pursuing through a different channel (the actual researchers of said report).  McIntyre made a premature request, through the wrong channels at that.  The following is pretty clear and reasonable sounding.  But, not for McIntyre.  

The following Manning quote is from McIntyre's March 28th, 2007 blogpost:

On Sep 22, 2005, Martin Manning of the IPCC/UCAR TSU wrote back refusing to provide this data in the following terms: 
"… It is normal practice that expert reviewers of scientific works check the references given and the way they are used. We certainly expect this during the review of the first draft of our report and are grateful that you have identified an issue that the authors will need to deal with in the next draft if that can not be done now. 
The second issue is availability of data used in cited literature. As you have recognized some of this is available at data centers. Often the original authors of the cited papers will release their data on request. However, the IPCC process assesses published literature, it does not involve carrying out research, nor do we have the mandate or resources to operate as a clearing house for the massive amounts of data that are used in the climate science community or referred to in the literature used by our authors. Given the many different approaches to intellectual property and data release in different countries and agencies such an undertaking would in any case not be possible."
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Seems reasonable to me, but than I'm not a prima donna.
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That gentleman's name is Martin Manning {}
An atmospheric scientist who now heads a research institute at a New Zealand university, Manning is one of the authors of the Scientific American article that refers to crystal balls.
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Donna, what is this about?  More melodrama?  Your quote mining is appalling.  The guy uses it in a proverbial sense to give his closing paragraph a little poetry and you try want to imply models are guess work.  I call tactics like that crazy-making.
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We are now living in an era in which both humans and nature affect the future evolution of the earth and its inhabitants. Unfortunately, the crystal ball provided by our climate models becomes cloudier for predictions out beyond a century or so. Our limited knowledge of the response of both natural systems and human society to the growing impacts of climate change compounds our uncertainty. One result of global warming is certain, however. Plants, animals and humans will be living with the consequences of climate change for at least the next thousand years.
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Beyond that, so what!?  
This is another example of setting impossible expectations.  

We don't need to know the potential warming to the tenth's of a degree, to know that warming is going to energize our weather patterns to a levels humanity has never experienced or prepared for.  

We don't need to know the exact CO2 feedback number to know that increasing atmospheric concentration will continue insulating the planet more.  

We don't need an exact weather forecast to know that increasing the heat content of our global heat distribution engine will result in more energized weather patterns and meteorological extremes.
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He refused - not once, but twice - to help McIntyre. This is what his second e-mail said: 
"Let me repeat – If you wish to obtain data used in a paper then you should make a direct request to the original authors yourself. It would be inappropriate for the IPCC to become involved in that communication and I have no intention of allowing the IPCC support unit to provide you with what would in effect be a secretarial service. There are over 1200 other scientists on our list of reviewers and we simply can not get involved in providing special services for each...I will not be responding to further correspondence on this matter." 
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Seems like a good way to deal with someone who's being unreasonable.
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One would think that a scientifically rigorous organization would go to some effort to ensure that its expert reviewers (all of whom, by the way, volunteer their time) have access to all the information necessary for them to make an informed judgment. One would also think that whenever the IPCC chooses to rely on as-yet-unpublished papers it would welcome the fact that someone was offering to take a close look at the data on which such papers are based. The Climate Bible(4) isn't just any report, after all. It informs the decisions of governments around the world. 
~ ~ ~ 
So nice and innocent sounding, when in fact, McIntyre has lost the good-faith of climatologists because of his misrepresentations, bullying, and politically aggressive tactics.

Science is founded on a level of civility, mutual respect that goes beyond personal politics, a tacit agreement to fair-play when exchanging information and/or arguments, tacit rules of good-faith behavior when interacting with colleagues.

Instead, McIntyre has shown himself to be more interested in spreading confusion, distrust and controversy rather than in pursuing any sort of good-faith learning process.
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Shortly afterward, McIntyre sent two e-mails, dated a few days apart, to Susan Solomon. In 2008 Time magazine named this US atmospheric chemist one of the world's 100 most influential people largely due to her senior role in assembling the 2007 Climate Bible(5). McIntyre told Solomon that Manning had declined to help him. He also reported a far more shocking development. Both authors had subsequently refused to cooperate. One said the underlying data would only be released after the paper had been published. The other advised him to contact the journal to which the second paper had been submitted. 
Solomon's own response could hardly have been less helpful. IPCC rules, she said, only oblige the technical support units to provide copies of unpublished papers themselves. The IPCC does not, said Solomon, concern itself with the raw data on which papers - published or otherwise - are based. 
~ ~ ~ 
Donna's convinced McIntyre's request was appropriate - but I have offered plenty of sources that go into detail chronicling McIntyre actions that have more to with fighting for a political agenda - than learning.  Information that helps explain why he isn't receiving the cooperation he demands.
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In a bizarre turn of events Solomon then accused McIntyre of behaving improperly. By contacting the journal as he'd been advised to, she said McIntyre was interfering with that journal's internal decisions. She also claimed it was inappropriate for him to suggest to the journal that his role as an IPCC reviewer entitled him to examine this data. 
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Why bizarre turn of events, McIntyre was in the wrong.
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In her capacity as a high-profile member of a body that claims to be totally transparent Solomon took the strange position that the unpublished papers were confidential material. As an IPCC reviewer, McIntyre had been granted access to them for one purpose only: to read them. By seeking more information, she said, he was violating IPCC confidentiality provisions and therefore risked being struck from the IPCC's list of official reviewers: 
we must insist that from now on you honor all conditions of access to unpublished, and therefore confidential, material...The IPCC rules...have served the scientific and policy communities well for numerous past international assessment rounds. If there is further evidence that you can not accept them, or if your intent is to...challenge them, then we will not be able to continue to treat you as an expert reviewer for the IPCC.
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"Totally transparent" more melodrama, like saying free speech means you can scream Fire! in a theater?  It's like McIntyre and others believing they have a right to every shard of correspondence Mann ever sent.  There are realistic limits and Donna has presented an extremely one sided narrative of McIntyre's adventure - so we are really left guessing at what the full story is.
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This organization says it welcomes scrutiny, but actions speak louder than words. Rather than embracing inquiring minds, it threatens them with expulsion. As a commenter on McIntyre's blog aptly observed, it would seem that IPCC reviewers are supposed to behave like rubber stamps rather than microscopes. 
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McIntyre is not an "inquiring mind" he is a hostile force who has made a speciality of finding the smallest of flaws and then hyper-inflating them to matters of important they simply do not justify.  He has repeated misrepresented scientists and I image he's earned the enmity of many.

What he and Donna want people to overlook is that Earth studies is not like engineering a bridge where you can expect to define all parameters to exquisite levels of accuracy.  By it's very nature studying our planet has always involved uncertainties that a physicist or engineer could never abide - but that are an unavoidable part of studying our planet.
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The IPCC's leadership - represented by Solomon and Manning - failed more than a transparency test here. Solomon had a choice. If safeguarding the integrity of the IPCC was her top concern, she should have scolded the authors of the papers who were refusing to let McIntyre double-check their work. She should have advised them that the IPCC would exclude their papers from consideration unless they made their data available immediately. 
Instead, Solomon behaved like a bureaucrat. Rather than championing openness, rather than behaving as though important questions affecting the entire planet were at stake, she chose to defend individual researchers' pre-publication confidentiality concerns. 
~ ~ ~ 
This is a propagandist's smoke'n mirror and still doesn't change the fact that McIntyre was out of bounds.  And his subsequence actions reflect someone who's more into raising confusion rather than awareness.
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It's worth noting that the author who refused outright to make her data available prior to her paper's final publication was Gabriele Hegerl.  You may remember her name from the climate model discussion earlier. 
Hegerl isn't just anyone. Rather, she served in seven distinct capacities with regard to the 2007 Climate Bible(6). Significantly, she was one of the two most senior people in charge of the attribution chapter - the section that decides the degree to which human influence versus natural causes are at work. 
In other words, the IPCC entrusted the most central question of all to the judgment of a person it was fully aware had declined to share her data with one of its own expert reviewers. It has never had the grace (or the wisdom) to be the least bit embarrassed about this. 
~ ~ ~ 
This is melodrama, not investigative journalism.  
What we have is McInytre who is a dilettante demanding to be treated as an equal to climatologists who have spent a decade and more studying to understand climatological nuances and details that this mining engineer can't even imagine.  

Worse than that, his only interest is in discover tiny flaws, which all Earth Science studies learn to deal with and hyper-inflate them into major man-made global warming denying crazy-making
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Here's how Solomon could have convinced me that the IPCC is an honorable organization: She could have rebuked the authors of these two papers and then issued an IPCC-wide memo announcing that she had done so. She could have declared that refusing to share one's data amounts to scientific malpractice and that the IPCC would no longer pay attention to research produced by people who behave in this manner. She could have instructed the technical support units to lend every assistance to expert reviewers seeking additional information - inviting anyone who encountered difficulties in that regard to contact her directly.
When the IPCC wonders why people don't trust it, it need look no further than the fact that nothing remotely like this occurred.
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Donna has already shown that she is focused on denigrating the IPCC using every trick imaginable.

I guess I lot of people refuse to listen to anything other than what they want to hear.  However, I'm hoping there are a few people out there who are interested learning.  I have included a few links from which have more information for the intellectually curious.

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