Guidance to IPCC Lead Authors

David Holland made this Freedom of Information request to University of Oxford

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, University of Oxford should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

From: David Holland

Dear University of Oxford,

Your Dr David Frame of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has been appointed a Lead Author (LA) for Chapter 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group One (WGI) for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The First meeting of WGI LAs was held at Kunming (China) between 8 and 11 November 2010.

1. Please give me copies of any agreements entered into by the University with the IPCC itself or Working Group One or any other party limiting the disclosure of information regarding the assessment of climate change by the IPCC or WGI.

2. Please give me copies of any correspondence received by Dr Frame from the IPCC, Working Group One or any source purporting to impose restrictions upon the disclosure of any information relating to the IPCC AR5.

3. Please send me copies of any other correspondence to or from Dr Frame not covered in 1 or 2 above which is in relation to the IPCC AR5.

4. Please let me know what plans the University has to comply with EIR r.4 in relation to the IPCC AR5.

Yours faithfully,

David Holland

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford

Dear Mr Holland,

I write to acknowledge your request for information about Chapter 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group One for the Fifth Assessment Report.

We will issue a substantive reply as soon as practicable, and, in any event, no later than 30 December, which is the 20th working day following the date of receipt.

Yours sincerely

FOI Oxford

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Holland Reply IPCC.docx
66K Download View as HTML

Attachment WG1 GuidanceNote Confidentiality.pdf
322K Download View as HTML

Attachment WG1 GuidanceNote MediaPublicCommunication.pdf
326K Download View as HTML

Attachment WG1 MediaStrategy.pdf
323K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

I attach an interim reply to your request.

Yours sincerely

FOI Oxford

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your interim response of 22 December 2010 to my request.

I must however strongly dispute the general point you make at the outset, that Dr Frame’s IPCC work does not form part of his official duties for the University. A “Google” search of the University website for “IPCC” returns 815 pages, the first of which is a document that states:

“Oxford University scientists have played a key role in writing and reviewing past and current IPCC reports with over ten academics authoring chapters in the latest revision and many more involved in the reviewing process.”

The overwhelming majority of participants in the IPCC process are researchers or professors at the world’s universities and to suggest that it is not an official policy and function of Oxford University to support the work of their employees in the name of the University does not bear any examination. The fact of the matter is that Dr Frame will be paid by the University from public funds while doing his IPCC work and attending overseas meetings. His travel and subsistence expenses via DECC will also be paid from public funds.

From your answer to Q1, I understand you to be saying that the University has not entered into any confidentiality agreements yet in answer to Q2 you have disclosed a document that I understand to have been sent to Dr Frame at his University email address that purports to impose very strict confidentiality conditions of information being received by the University upon what the Information Commissioner has repeatedly ruled to be environmental information.

I would draw your attention to clause 46 of the regulation 16 Code of Practice and ask if the University has made all actual and potential participants in the IPCC process aware of the limitations this places upon them in accepting any confidentiality conditions? I am assuming that Dr Frame had not to date consented in writing to the AR5 WGI confidentiality terms or you would have disclosed a copy of it to me. For the avoidance of doubt can you enquire of Dr Frame if he has made any undertakings of confidentiality in writing or otherwise at the recent Lead Authors' meeting or at any other time?

I am perplexed by your answer to Q4, in which you say “The University .. .. .. does not have any obligations under EIR 4 relating specifically to AR5, given that it is not a party to that process”. The last Assessment Report of the IPCC lists all the individuals that were “a party to that assessment by their name and affiliation which, in 8 cases, was “University of Oxford”. However, the basis of my question was that I am expecting some of important “environmental information” on the scientific assessment of climate to be “held” by the University and EIR regulation 4 requires that you proactively disseminate it.

You say “The University publishes a substantial amount of environmental information on its website”, and indeed it does. However EIR regulation 4 requires rather more:

“Subject to paragraph (3), a public authority shall in respect of environmental information that it holds - (a) progressively make the information available to the public by electronic means which are easily accessible; and (b) take reasonable steps to organize the information relevant to its functions with a view to the active and systematic dissemination to the public of the information.”

In addition to certain statutory items paragraph (3) referred to above requires that you proactively publish:

“facts and analyses of facts which the public authority considers relevant and important in framing major environmental policy proposals.”

Please can you confirm whether of not the “facts and analyses of facts” the University’s employees will be discussing, assessing and reporting on in the IPCC AR5 process are considered by the University to be “relevant and important in framing major environmental policy proposals”?

If as I presume they must so consider, where can I find an organised and systematic publication scheme at your website? Where, for instance, do you publish the names and roles of University participants? Where on your website do you show the documents you have just disclosed or a web link to them?

Yours faithfully

David Holland

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.2.docx
72K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

I attach a reply to part 3 of your request.

I apologise for missing the deadline.

Yours sincerely

FOI Oxford

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear UAS Foi,

Could I trouble you to send me your reply as a Word 97 or pdf format file?

Yours sincerely,

David Holland

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.2.pdf
382K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

I attach a Pdf version of the reply.

Yours sincerely

FOI Oxford

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear University of Oxford,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of University of Oxford's handling of my FOI request 'Guidance to IPCC Lead Authors'.

The second of the “Principles Governing IPCC Work”, as agreed by the British government and all other members of the IPCC, states unambiguously that its assessments are to be undertaken on a “comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis”. There is no provision for confidentiality anywhere in the rules of the IPCC.

Since confidentiality is entirely against the IPCC rules you have no basis for any claim to confidentiality or any refusal to disclose. The assessment being undertaken by public employees is an environmental decision making process in which the Aarhus Convention grants the public rights to information and participation. Clearly public debate is an essential part of participation.

The DCA code of practice also cautions public authorities against from agreeing to accept terms including confidentiality. The effort to prevent disclosure is nothing to do with the IPCC and comes only from the scientists in “working groups” who should have agreed to work to IPCC Principles. These “working groups” are ad hoc temporary groups of public employees rather than permanent international organisations such as the IPCC itself

It is amply demonstrated in the leaked Climategate emails that the scientists in these “working groups” routinely distribute information widely to individuals that are not accredited to the IPCC assessment process provided only that they are considered as their friends and supporters within the scientific community. Their sole objective is to prevent public debate and controversy and is in direct opposition to the Aarhus Convention.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/gu...

Yours faithfully,

David Holland

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford

Dear Mr Holland,

I write to acknowledge your request for an internal review of the response to your freedom of information request relating to the Guidance to IPCC Lead Authors, which was sent to you on 10 January.

The Registrar will carry out the internal review. He aims to complete it no later than 11 February, which is the 20th working day following the date of receipt of your request.

Yours sincerely

FOI Oxford

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford

Dear Mr Holland,

Further to my e-mail below, I am afraid that the University will not be able to complete the internal review by 11 February.

We have received a large number of freedom of information requests since the start of the year, and the Registrar is new in post.

We now aim to complete the internal review by 10 March.

I apologise for the delay.

Yours sincerely

FOI Oxford

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Reply IR Final.docx
55K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

With apologies for the delay, I attach a reply to your request for an internal review.

Yours sincerely

Max Todd

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD
Council Secretariat
01865 (2)80299

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear Mr Todd

Thank you for reply. I have no wish to be a nuisance but could I trouble you to provide me with a reply either in pdf or doc form. While I can get docx translated, like many others I am reluctant to invest in an upgrade just to read docx files.

Yours sincerely,

David Holland

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your interim response of 16 March 2011. I shall indeed be referring the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office in due course.

As you may know under the ICO’s Freedom of Information Good Practice Guidance No. 5, I am at some peril if I do not treat your letter of 16 March 2011 as your final position and complain within two months. However, you are indicating that there may be further disclosures and a further opportunity to request a further review. Accordingly I will have to at least make an interim complaint or seek advice from the ICO.

In the meantime I would appreciate it if you clarify precisely who you are referring to when you write “consulting, where necessary, with the IPCC”. You have referred me to the IPCC website, www.ipcc.ch, so for the avoidance of doubt can you confirm that your consultations will be through the Secretary of the IPCC, Dr Renate Christ, whose contact details are shown at the website?

Can you also confirm that you have read the “Principles Governing IPCC Work” easily accessible at the IPCC website and agree that they include the following?

“The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change”

“Major decisions of the IPCC will be taken by the Panel in plenary meetings.”

“Conclusions drawn by IPCC Working Groups and any Task Forces are not official IPCC views until they have been accepted by the Panel in a plenary meeting.”

There appears to be a conflict between the Principles repeatedly confirmed by the governments that set up, pay for and control the IPCC and the scientists who work for the ad hoc working groups. Since 1993 the worlds governments have said the assessment process in which Professor Stocker and Dr Frame are engaged.

I would ask when you approach the IPCC that you specifically ask if the Panel in Plenary session have ever authorised Professor Stocker’s instructions in relation to confidentiality.

A number of questions arise from your response but since they are technically new FOIA requests I will ask them separately.

Yours faithfully

David Holland

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Reply IR Final.pdf
167K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

Attached. (I should have remembered from last time.)

Yours sincerely

Max Todd

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD
Council Secretariat
01865 (2)80299

show quoted sections

Link to this

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

The message immediately above dated 16th March was indeed sent on that date, but the WhatDoTheyKnow site didn't automatically associate it with this request for some reason I'm not sure of, as the email was correctly addressed.

Ganesh - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford

Dear Mr Holland,

Thank you for your two new requests.

I aim to reply to them no later than 15 April. However, I intend to give priority to the e-mails that Dr Frame has recently forwarded to me, since these relate to your original request.

Yours sincerely

Max Todd

University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD
Council Secretariat
01865 (2)80299

show quoted sections

Link to this

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

The email above also arrived on the date shown but was only manually associated with the thread just now. The WhatDoTheyKnow developers have now tracked down the problem with automatic delivery to the request thread to a bug in the software, which they hope to fix as soon as possible. In the meantime we'll try to make sure that messages hit by the bug are manually moved as quickly as possible.

Ganesh - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.3.Annex C docx.pdf
4K Download View as HTML

Attachment Holland Reply No.3 Annex A.pdf
2.4M Download View as HTML

Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.3 Annex B.pdf
382K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

I attach a reply relating to the additional material referred to in
Professor McKendrick's letter of 16 March.

I apologise again for the delay in completing our response to your
request.

On a technical point, you said in your e-mail of 16 March that you were
'reluctant to invest in an upgrade just to read docx files'.

You may wish to download the free software available here:

[1]http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/de...

Yours sincerely

Max Todd
Council Secretariat
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD
01865 (2)80299

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford


Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.3.pdf
388K Download View as HTML

Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.3.Annex C docx.pdf
4K Download View as HTML

Attachment Holland Reply No.3 Annex A.pdf
2.4M Download View as HTML

Attachment Holland Reply IPCC No.3 Annex B.pdf
382K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Holland,

I attach the reply that was missing from my e-mail of 20 April.

Apologies.

Yours sincerely

Max Todd
Council Secretariat
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD
01865 (2)80299

_____________________________________________
From: UAS Foi
Sent: 20 April 2011 13:11
To: David Holland; UAS Foi
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Guidance to IPCC Lead
Authors

Dear Mr Holland,

I attach a reply relating to the additional material referred to in
Professor McKendrick's letter of 16 March.

I apologise again for the delay in completing our response to your
request.

On a technical point, you said in your e-mail of 16 March that you were
'reluctant to invest in an upgrade just to read docx files'.

You may wish to download the free software available here:

[1]http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/de...

Yours sincerely

Max Todd
Council Secretariat
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD
01865 (2)80299

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear Mr Todd,

First of all thank you for your earlier response pointing to the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack. I should also mention that on 26 April I complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office. I had indicated to Prof McKendrick that I would soon have to, or risk falling foul of FOIA section 50(2)(b).

I am grateful to you for the Reply No. 3 itself as I had wondered what Annex C was about and why you had put it in twice. I thought these were requests Oxford had made and did not think to check my own files.

While I do not suggest that you or Prof McKendrick are any part of it I think there is an expensive cat and mouse game afoot. While the routine information in Annex A (even with its unjustifiable redactions) is interesting and useful, you have not disclosed the fundamentally important AR4 WGI timetable with its reference to the zero, first and second drafts and the deadlines instructions for the inclusion of “in press” scientific literature in the drafts.

Only a less detailed timetable is published at the AR5 WGI website but I know from the Internet that the detailed one has been distributed. this was a controversial issue in AR4 and Prof. Stocker knows it will be in AR5. It is the real test as to whether WGI intend the AR5 assessment to be “open and transparent” as the Panel of the IPCC have decreed.

Yours sincerely

David Holland

Link to this

From: UAS Foi
University of Oxford

Dear Mr Holland,

I refer to your request for an internal review.

I am afraid we will need more time to complete the review.

We now aim to send you a substantive response by 27 July.

Yours sincerely

Max Todd
Council Secretariat
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford
OX1 2JD

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: David Holland

Dear Mr Todd,

Thank you for your letter of 28 June via Whatdotheyknow.

As you know I have submitted a complaint to the ICO based upon your interim response of 16 March 2011.

However, as you are still considering my request I would mention to you the Decision Notice FER0282488 issued on 23 June 2011. This was in relation to a complaint by a Professor of Brasenose College against UEA and unless appealed establishes the ICO view on r.12(5) in relation to climate assessment.

I also think your use of r.12(4)(d) is totally unsupportable. I am not aware of having asked for information that is still in the course of completion, unfinished or incomplete. I have only asked for information in documents that have been distributed as finished documents to many people worldwide.

The fact that the IPCC process, to which they relate, will not be complete until September 2013 can not be seriously proposed as a reason not to disclose all the finished documents at the end of each discrete step in the AR5 assessment process, which began in 2007.

Yours sincerely,

David Holland

Link to this

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org. Find out more.

AskTheEU.org

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
University of Oxford only: