Access: The "leaked" IPCC AR5 draft Summary for Policymakers

For weeks, this document has been put in the hands of most every journalist that writes about climate issues, and many articles have been written about its contents. Given that much of the work done in it was publicly funded at universities, and because the discussion in the media has placed the issue in the public domain of discussion, plus with the IPCC Stockholm meeting to hammer out the final version convening this week, and with the announcement today that IPCC chair Rajenda Pachauri willl step down in 2015, (translation here) I feel it is time to make this document available so that the public also has the opportunity for (as the IPCC put it in their press release) line-by-line scrutiny.

It’s been suggested by Dr. Judith Curry that these leaks to some key MSM players from the IPCC were deliberate to equip sympathetic journalists with talking points so that they could promote interest and alarm ahead of time.

People have been asking me to comment on the leaked IPCC Final Draft Summary for Policy Makers. Apparently someone in the IPCC  made the Report available to ‘friendly’ journalists, as part of a strategy to brief them before the formal release of the Report. – Dr. Judith Curry

Further, the IPCC has made it clear in their Principles and Procedures statement that they embrace transparency.

The IPCC’s processes and procedures are constantly being reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain strong, transparent and reliable.

Given the keen worldwide interest, and the many articles written about the AR5 draft SPM in media with access to it, there’s no reason anymore for the public to be left out of the process. It will also be interesting to compare to the final SPM to see what the politicians have morphed the document into. Reportedly, there are some 1800 changes that have already been requested by government representatives.

Here is the widely distributed PDF of the IPCC Draft SPM.

WG1AR5-SPM_FD_Final (1) (7.64MB)

For some insight into the IPCC process, and the pointless levels of secrecy they added on to reviewers, see this website by Paul Matthews, an applied mathematician at the University of Nottingham:

The IPCC Report – Looking into the 5th IPCC report

Drafts, reviews and leaks

I found this statement interesting:

Since the draft reports cite research papers that have been accepted but not published, reviewers have the right to see these papers. I requested three such papers and received the following response from the IPCC:

Please find attached a copy of the non-published literature you requested. For security reasons, the attached copy is an encrypted version of a pdf. The copy can be viewed by a software (LockLizard) which is provided free of charge and is simple and quick to download. Below you will find instructions on how to download the software, register the license, and view the protected file.

Take a look at the LockLizard website – especially the video at the top. This gives an insight into the secrecy paranoia of the IPCC. These are research papers on climate science, soon to be published, but in the view of the IPCC they are closely guarded secrets.

Dr. Judith Curry talks about the leaks:

The IPCC’s ‘inconvenient truth’ — a pause in surface warming for the past 15+ years

Publication of the IPCC AR4 in 2007 was received with international acclaim. The vaunted IPCC process – multitudes of experts from over a hundred countries over a period of four years, examining thousands of refereed journal publications, with hundreds of expert reviewers – elevated the authority of the IPCC AR4 to near biblical heights. Journalists jumped on board, and even the oil and energy companies neared capitulation. The veneration culminated with the Nobel Peace Prize, which the IPCC was awarded jointly with Al Gore. At the time, I joined the consensus in supporting this document as authoritative: I bought into the meme of “don’t trust what one scientist says; rather trust the consensus building process of the IPCC experts.”

Six and a half years later and a week before the release of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5), substantial criticisms are being made of leaked versions of the Report as well as of the IPCC process itself. IPCC insiders are bemoaning their loss of their scientific and political influence.  What happened?

The IPCC was seriously tarnished by the unauthorized release of emails from the University of East Anglia in November 2009, known as Climategate.  These emails revealed the ‘sausage making’ involved in the IPCC’s consensus building process, including denial of data access to individuals who wanted to audit their data processing and scientific results, interference in the peer review process to minimize the influence of skeptical criticisms, and manipulation of the media.  Climategate was quickly followed by the identification of an egregious error involving the melting of Himalayan glaciers.  These revelations were made much worse by the actual response of the IPCC to these issues. Then came the concerns about the behavior of the IPCC’s Director, Rachendra Pachauri, and investigations of the infiltration of green advocacy groups into the IPCC. All of this was occurring against a background of explicit advocacy and activism by IPCC leaders related to CO2 mitigation policies.

The IPCC does not seem to understand the cumulative impact of these events on the loss of trust in climate scientists and the IPCC process itself. The IPCC’s consensus building process relies heavily on expert judgment; if the public and the policy makers no longer trust these particular experts, then we can expect a very different dynamic to be in play with regards to the reception of the AR5 relative to the AR4.

Based upon early drafts of the AR5, the IPCC seemed prepared to dismiss the pause in warming as irrelevant ‘noise’ associated with natural variability. Under pressure, the IPCC now acknowledges the pause and admits that climate models failed to predict it. The IPCC has failed to convincingly explain the pause in terms of external radiative forcing from greenhouse gases, aerosols, solar or volcanic forcing; this leaves natural internal variability as the predominant candidate to explain the pause.  If the IPCC attributes to the pause to natural internal variability, then this begs the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural internal variability.  Not to mention raising questions about the confidence that we should place in the IPCC’s projections of future climate change.

In my view, the IPCC now faces its ultimate test of credibility. Given its botched and dismissive reactions to errors pointed out by the public in the blogosphere in the past few years, I don’t expect they will rise to the occasion – the skills for presentation to the public in the current dynamic just aren’t there.

This LA Time’s story sums up the predicament quite well: Global warming ‘hiatus’ puts climate change scientists on the spot


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“Friendly” is a euphemism for “left-wing, Greenshirt” motivated. Since Dr. Curry looks relatively useful to skeptics she is given an immediate exemption for her obfuscation. Skeptics determined to add 30+ years to the climate war through this permissive approach.

Interesting that Rajendra Pachauri is saying that he is stepping down. He’s told Roger Harrabin that he isn’t retiring from the IPCC chair. Either Spiegel is not in the “in” crowd is Roger out. I put my money on Roger. He’s wrong about everything else.


I’ve done a keyword search and am a few pages in now. No sign of any mention of ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’. Looks like the politicos may have got their wish.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

[typo fixed – thanks -Anthony]


It looks like this is all we’re getting by way of concession:
“The rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998−2012; 25 0.05 [−0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade) is smaller than the trend since 1951 (1951−2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 26 0.14] °C per decade)”

Bill Illis

Other than dropping the lower limit of the expected climate sensitivity, this draft was intended to be a whitewash, enabling the climate research industry to continue milking the taxpayers.

Jeff L

My favorite quote :
“If the IPCC attributes to the pause to natural internal variability, then this begs the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural internal variability”
It almost certainly implies climate sensitivity to CO2 is significantly lower than the 3-4 deg C doomsday / CAGW scenarios, thus there is no crisis.

Mike Smith

The precise wording of the final release of AR5 doesn’t really matter.
In my view, the important question is how the mainstream media decide to play it.
There will be sufficient material for publications to continue with the CO2/warmest/alarmist agenda and I suspect that is exactly what will happen. However, there’s a chance some journalists will decide to depart from the gospel and emphasize some of the more obvious problems like the complete failure of the models.
Anthony will likely be the first to know for sure since the rebellious journos will undoubtedly be calling him for comment.
We shall see!


“The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by more than 20% since 1958 when systematic atmospheric measurements began (see Figure SPM.3), and by about 40% since 1750. The increase is a result of human activity, virtually all due to burning of fossil fuels and deforestation”


Page 9 – finally something substantial about the failure to anticipate the “pause”:
“There is very high confidence that models reproduce the more rapid warming in the second half of the 20th century, and the cooling immediately following large volcanic eruptions. Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10–15 years. There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing.”

the SPM ocean heat content one is dishonest!!! pg32 (c) Nice scary rise.. y axis in joules
Translate joules into degrees C and it is about 0.09C in 55 years (source Met Office)
quote from Met Office doc (NOT IPCC SPM)
“There are much fewer observations below 700m, and the ocean below 2,000m has remained largely un-monitored. However, there is evidence of warming below 700m, and even below 2,000m. Careful processing of the available deep ocean records shows that the heat content of the upper 2,000m increased by 24 x 1022J over the 1955–2010 period (Levitus, 2012), equivalent to 0.09°C warming of this layer.” pg22
The IPCC presenting that rising graph will mean people think thee is a problem, rapidly rising ocean temp (energy really)!!!
that is actually a claim of measuring a rate rise of <2 thousandths of a degree per decade!!!
if degrees C is good enough for global surface air temp (or proxy for energy) why not show the ocean heat graph in degree C. Why not because people would laugh at the scale.

when the WG2 report will be out…will anybody still care?


No time to read it in detail at this point, so I just looked at the pictures. I feel so… dirty 😉
Figure SPM.5 is revealing. It appears to show that the models match observations. Upon inspection, they’ve used decadal averages for all time series, which completely obliterates the divergence between the models and observations over the last 15 years or so.

Heh. LockLizard Digital Restrictions Management on top of all the other DRM schemes. I won’t even look to see if my DRM stripper has the necessary script.
Evidently the IPCC is unaware of the Open Access – OA – movement for transparency in academia. Ahh, they are propagandists guarding their own Gulag Archipelago and not academics.


When Raj Pachauri does retire, he will have more time to produce his smutty novels. [snip]

Mac the Knife

AR5, like its predecessors, is a political document, not a scientific document.


Reminds me of this , they are just hoping that in 5 years it will be going their way.

oops spm ocean heat content graph is pg 24.
Nice IPCC SPM graphic of Northern Sea Ice extent……………………………… pg 25 AND pg28
am I being too cynical in wondering just why there is no graphic of Southern Hemisphere Ice extent?

M Courtney

The total anthropogenic RF since 1750 is 2.3 [1.1 to 3.3] W m−2 (see Figure SPM.4), and it has increased more rapidly since 1970 than during prior decades. The total anthropogenic RF estimate for 2011 is 44% higher compared to the estimate reported in AR4 for the year 2005. This is due in about equal parts to reductions in estimates of the forcing resulting from aerosols and continued growth in most greenhouse gas concentrations. {8.5.1}

44% higher since 1970! Well we must be really heating up as RF = Radiative Forcing.

Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10–15 years. There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing. {9.4.1, 10.3.1, 11.3.2; Box 9.2}

~How do you get the medium confidence on the pause being caused from volcanic forcings? There have been none to speak of.
~The solar forcings are too poorly known to have any confidence in, if they are considered a potential cause if the pause.
~Aerosol forcings? If that is out then the whole calibration for volcanoes is out so that doesn’t really work either.

…too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing.

Yep, that seems to fit.


Anyone seen the graph on the final page? A scary looking temperature anomaly charted against anthro CO2 contribution, with the temperature anomaly relative to *1861-1880*. Just what confidence level does the IPCC have in the accuracy of global temperature measurements in the middle decades of the 19th century? Is this ever stated in any of the IPCC output?


Is my mind just in the gutter? Or does LockLizard sound like wordplay on lot lizard?
Prufeshunalism at its finest…

Jim Clarke

This has got to be the most expensive and costly act of global handwaving the world has ever seen, and hopefully will ever see for a very long time. It has taken 25 years for the ‘best scientists’ and almost all the worlds National Academies of Science to consider that climate has some natural variability to it, not tied to volcanoes or solar irradiance; a fact that has been completely obvious from the very beginning. They are considering it only because the have to. And while they take many more years to consider the obvious, they handwave!
Wikipedia describes ‘handwaving’ as: “… a pejorative label applied to the action of displaying the appearance of doing something, when actually doing little, or nothing. For example, it is applied to debate techniques that involve fallacies. It is also used in working situations where productive work is expected, but no work is actually accomplished.”


davidmhoffer… and I.P.C.C. will be able (unless the public says no) to continue to expand the time horizon for decades to come all built upon the manufactured rise since the 70’s that due to adjustments will never go away. One day the public is going to wonder… what about those +0.7°C “upward adjustments” made to the temperature records, what about that, what of UHI, have we had the wool pulled over our eyes? One day, and stop speaking of the irrelevant always-bright-red model mumbo-jumbo charts all built on incorrect parameters and assumptions.


Let’s recall that the so called media leak landed on Reuters lap, in fact the Thomson Reuters Foundation home of uber green peddler Sir Crispin Tickell… That says it all. In Canada, Globemedia, owned by the Thomson family, has been among the fiercest propagandists of the Cause, with Op ed of luminaries such as Maurice Strong, Balsillie and any sub zero level “climate change” academics that can blame a flood on CAGW! Their journalists are low level propagandists that recycle catastrophism and carbon taxing proselytism.
This is was no leak IMO. This was a deliberate pre-release for friendlies. In fact, since that leak, Globemedia has been unsusually quiet on the climate front, suggesting a series of articles are being worked and will be released in time for the Stockholm meeting.
The BS of volcanoes, aerosols and other sudden one way solar influence (only when it cools) is now emerging from Reuters reports. The distortion of the climate sensitivity issue and sea level scares are the bread and butter of Anna Ringstrom’s Reuters piece.
Reuters, Thomson Reuters, Globemedia are jusge and party in this affair.


SadButMadLad says:
September 23, 2013 at 11:20 am
Interesting that Rajendra Pachauri is saying that he is stepping down. …
Human role in warming ‘more certain’ – UN climate chief
BBC is also citing the Marcott hockeystick in this article

Pamela Gray

Remember my trick. For articles not accessible, try pasting the article name in your search engine field followed or preceded by lower case “pdf”. You can sometimes find an open access preprint.

Well, this clearly puts you outside the range of normal, respectful, ethical behavior. The excuses you provide at the beginning of this post are lame. You should be ashamed of yourself.
In the end, since this is about to be released anyway, your unethical behavior probably has little cost to anyone else, but I suspect it is going to cost you a great deal in the way of credibility among legitimate scientists, members of the press, policy makers, etc.
Or were you thinking that your credibility is already pretty much blown anyway?


Mike Smith:
Got it in one.

richard verney.

Mac the Knife says:
September 23, 2013 at 11:56 am
AR5, like its predecessors, is a political document, not a scientific document.
This would appear so since why else would you publish a summary for policy makers before the finalisation of the scientific report?
Surely, the report should come first. Once published, a summary of key point can the be prepared for the less scientifically minded, and for those that the activist scientist wish to lead in the direction of their activism.
It seems to me that they are putting the cart before the horse, and at this stage they do not even know whther the horse is a thoroughbred or just some knacker fit only for the knacker’s yard.


Greg Laden:
Black, Pot, Kettle etc.?

William Astley

It will be interesting to watch the AR-5 discussions. The IPCC is a political body and must answer to politicians. The politicians are likely reacting to falling public support for policies that will triple and quadruple energy costs for no benefit.
The fact that the BCC is finally starting to report the facts concerning a news worthy story, indicates the beginning of the end for the extreme AGW hypothesis.
The failure of green scam energy to reduce CO2 emissions and the extraordinarily high cost of green energy, multiple observations that disprove the extreme CO2 AGW hypothesis, and a debt/economic crisis explains why a growing number of politicians and political parties no longer support fabricating science to push an agenda that will result in economic collapse.
On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications Richard S. Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi

Pamela Gray

Now that Australia’s CO2 machine is grinding to a hault, other countries will be questioning the folks who bring this report back home to the table. In open session there will be lots of furrowed brows and consternation of predicted planetary doom in order to continue the gravy game. In private sessions there will be lots of furrowed brows and consternation of predicted political doom should the pause continue. And so far, ENSO patterns predict at least a continued pause.
Paint, meet corner.

Pamela Gray

Greg Laden, did you just wake up from a coma? Got a hangover? Just got fired? Ate chilli and huckleberry pie before retiring last night? Just found out your wife is suing for divorce? Did a dog bite you? What?

Here is an interesting little twist
1. When they look at projections for sea level and air temp they use all models, regardless of the fact that some of them are total crap.
2. When they look at Arctic ice, they take a subset of models….
Which subset
For sea ice extent (b), the projected
mean and uncertainty (minimum-maximum range) of the subset of models that most closely reproduce the
climatological mean state and 1979‒2012 trend of the Arctic sea ice is given. For completeness, the CMIP5 multi-
model mean is indicated with dashed lines. {Figures 6.28, 12.5, and 12.28–12.31; Figures TS.15, TS.17, and TS.20}
Of course all the models, the mean of all models shows more ice than the subset.

Greg Laden:
re your post at September 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm
It is too late for you to retract that post before anybody sees it. However, you can learn from your mistake.
In future it would be better for you to avoid making posts which make you look stupid.

“There is very high confidence that models reproduce the more rapid warming in the second half of the 20th century, and the cooling immediately following large volcanic eruptions. Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10–15 years.”
Why should anyone care what your “confidence” level is when it is evident that you don’t comprehend this fundamental fact: Models create contingency (i.e. “the scenarios”) but can never resolve it, and since information gain is the resolution of contingency, models teach us nothing. It seems silly to have to state this but AGW detection is a detection problem, not a modeling problem. If they can’t find a signal that they say has persisted and increased over half the data record (funny the NSA has no problem pulling my spread spectrum cellphone call out of the noise) then I want my money back.


“at IPCC chair Rajenda Pachauri willl step down in 2015, ..”
Oh no, I hope he changes his mind and stays on. Rajenda Pachauri has done far more for the skeptic/denialist side than anything the skeptics could have conceived. As long as he stays as chairman, the IPCC will have little credibility. I hope he remains chairman for many years to come.

Several people have posted comments which suggest the IPCC AR5 should not be a political document but should be a scientific document.
That suggestion displays ignorance of the official nature and purpose of the IPCC.
The stipulated nature and purpose of the IPCC is clearly stated in the “Principles” which govern IPCC work. These are at
Near its beginning that IPCC document says

2. 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, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they may need to deal objectively with scientific, technical and socio-economic factors relevant to the application of particular policies.

So, the IPCC does NOT exist to summarise climate science. .
The IPCC exists to provide
(a) “information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change”
(b) “options for adaptation and mitigation” that would be “policies”.
Hence, its “Role” demands that the IPCC accepts as a given that there is a “risk of human-induced climate change” which requires political policies to be selected from “options for adaptation and mitigation” that the IPCC is tasked to provide.
This “Role” is pure politics acting behind a mask which resembles science; i.e. Lysenkoism.

AR4 was born using precisely the same murky bureaucratic shenanigans outlined above but they got found out. Skeptics did actually go back and check the summary against the underlying documents, did discover nearly one-third of the science experts were actually nothing more than environmental activists and even that some of the scientific predictions were based on nothing more than cut and pastes from alarmist pamphlets. Knowing the arrogance of the same people involved, I’ve no doubt AR5 will prove to be a bastard child of a similar provenance.


The term “The Pause” has all but been co-oped by the warmist agenda. Expect years more of idiotic rationalization that it is no big deal even it refutes decades of hype and predictions of catastrophe. The hypothesis is observationally dead but will be reduced to “glitch” status and therefore largely ignored in the tool MSM. New meme’s can be invented in a heartbeat, “Missing heat deep in the ocean” says expert Ken Trenbreth etc. etc. New models making up deep ocean heat are just around the corner.
Then again, nature can turn and “The Pause” will be Orwellian erased by the Climate establishment out right. It will join the Medieval Warming Period as something that never happened.
Skeptics looking to Dr. Curry are like conservatives looking to David Brooks at the NYTimes for support, hopelessly stupid.

Robbin Harrell

Hi Pamela,
Why do they call it a pause… It’s only a pause after it starts again. Until then it’s stopped…
If it never starts again, it is certainly not a pause…


You understand the canard of the AGW agenda but do you understand the spineless weakness of the skeptic community for the most part?
Many people think better graphing of actual data is going to change the game. There’s one born every minute.

“The observed reduction in warming trend over the period 1998–2012 as compared to the period 1951–1 2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a cooling contribution from internal variability and a reduced 2 trend in radiative forcing (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due 3 to volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the current solar cycle. However, there is low 4 confidence in quantifying the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing this reduced warming 5 trend. {Box 9.2; 10.3.1; Box 10.2}”
Translation: It was the sun. Or super secret volcanoes. Or something.

“There is robust evidence that the downward trend in Arctic summer sea ice extent since 1979 is now better simulated than at the time of the AR4, with about one-quarter of the models showing a trend as large as, or larger than, the trend in the observations. Most models simulate a small decreasing trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, albeit with large inter-model spread, in contrast to the small increasing trend in 30 observations. {9.4.3}“
“one-quarter of the models showing a trend as large as, or larger than, the trend in the observations”
Translation: 75% of the models were wrong about Arctic Sea Ice. But we’ll claim we got it right when we only got it right 25% of the time.
“Most models simulate a small decreasing trend in Antarctic sea ice extent
Translation: None of the models got Antarctic Sea Ice right.”
What a joke.

Janice Moore

When you work overtime at hiding your work and have to run a big, “friendly,” P.R. campaign on its behalf, there’s something wrong with your work.


Robbin, the term “The Pause” was invented to be moderately palatable to warmists by other consensus players like Dr. Curry. It’s subplot messaging is preposterous on the face of it.
The Pause = Total observational failure of AGW claims and models.
Look, they didn’t feel good being forced into predictions decades back. Then as now a desperate political agenda was being played out on a world stage. Without those wildly wrong predictions there would have been no Kyoto Protocal for example. Now they get off the hook with the minimalist phrasing “The Pause” and the debunking of 25+ Years of co2 claims is managed.
“The Pause” is an idiotic term filled with the AGW narrative and AGW is mostly a narrative not actual science.


There is medium confidence from reconstructions that summer sea ice retreat and increase in sea surface temperatures in the Arctic over the past three decades are anomalous in the perspective of at least the last 2,000 years.
I only know of one reconstruction and they’re cocksure it’s unprecedented for at least 1.5k years. I’d like to know what other papers forced the confidence level 4 steps down from virtually certain.

Pamela Gray

A pause in a non-linear system does not tell one which direction it will take when another trend up or down begins again, and it surely will begin again in some fashion based on previous observations. After all, weather is not white noise. Weather has its weather pattern variations well known by agronomists. A trend up or down will most likely resume. But I cannot tell you which way it will go in terms of significance. It may be that the pause (IE understood by me as not significantly up or down) may also continue as a trend.
So in reference to the word “pause”, I am not one to get caught up in semantics. I say tuhmayduh you may say tumahtoe. I do the warsh, you may do the wash. Label it any word you like, just don’t label it significantly up or down.
That said, warming has not stopped. If I turn off my heater in the car in the middle of January, trust me, I don’t stay comfortably warm. It immediately starts a downward spiral to chilly. So some warming must still be getting to us to maintain a global average that is neither up nor down.

Lock Lizard? Seems the IPCC may be more secure than the US government!

M Courtney

Pamela Gray, most sceptics have never said they can predict the weather years in advance.
If the warming has not stopped and global Temps have stayed constant then that is a new thing that is of some interest to those of us who are curious.
Yet while we may be astounded we are not confounded.
But those who predicted the end of the world (like the IPCC for all practical purposes) are truly troubled.
Well, they will be if they have any integrity.