IPCC Climate Report Leaked Online
December 17, 2012

Upcoming UN Climate Change Report Leaked Online

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

An early draft of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been leaked online by an environmental blogger, despite requests from the UN-body that the contents of the document remain sealed until their official release in 2014.

According to Science Recorder reporter Jessica Lear, part of the report was published online by Alec Rawls, a global warming skeptic who created the blog Stop Green Suicide.

Rawls was a participant in the expert review process of the second draft of the IPCC AR5 report, which granted him access to the first part or Working Group 1 (WG1) portion of the document.

The excerpt, which was published in full on his blog, "highlights the physical effects of climate change, such as temperature recordings and computer models that predict future warming," Lear said.

"I believe that the leaking of this draft is entirely legal, that the taxpayer funded report is properly in the public domain under the Freedom of Information Act, and that making it available to the public is in any case protected by established legal and ethical standards," Rawls wrote on his website, while encouraging anyone interested in reading the report to download a copy in case it is "removed as a possible terms-of-service violation."

As Andrew Orlowski of The Register reported on Friday, anyone could have signed up to review the draft, like Rawls did. However, in doing so, they would have had to consent to a non-disclosure agreement. Orlowski said that Rawls completed the registration process, gained access to the report, and then waited until after November 30 (when the second review round closed) before publishing it.

Of the document's actual content, The Register reported, "There's little change in the conclusion since AR4. Although only a small fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere is produced by human activity, and only half of that isn't absorbed, this remaining component is the dominant factor in determining the climate, say IPCC authors."

"Globally, CO2 is the strongest driver of climate change compared to other changes in the atmospheric composition, and changes in surface conditions. Its relative contribution has further increased since the 1980s and by far outweighs the contributions from natural drivers," he continued, adding that "computer models predict a 3°C rise over a hundred years, and they're more sure than ever 'that many changes, that are observed consistently across components of the climate system, are significant, unusual or unprecedented on time scales of decades to many hundreds of thousands of years."

So what part of the report prompted Rawls to release it? Orlowski said that Rawls claims that he leaked the file because the IPCC's renunciation of solar factors other than irradiance/brightness. While Orlowski acknowledges that is, in fact, the case, he says that it is primarily the result of the scientific community's "failure to explore such factors."

"The unauthorized and premature posting of the drafts of the WGI AR5, which are works in progress, may lead to confusion because the text will necessarily change in some respects once all the review comments have been addressed," the IPCC said in a statement, according to BBC News. "It is regrettable that one out of many hundreds of reviewers broke the terms of the review."