AR6 SOD Reviewers Needed – please light a candle

Guest announcement by Dave Burton,

Denunciatory rhetoric is so much easier and cheaper than good works, and proves a popular temptation. Yet it is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness.

Rev. William L. Watkinson

I’m writing to ask you, dear reader, if you have relevant expertise, to please register with the IPCC as an AR6 (6th Assessment Report) WG1 (Working Group One) SOD (Second Order Draft) Expert Reviewer, and also to please tell me when you have done so. If you are already registered as an AR6 expert reviewer, then thank you, and please tell me that, too. (My contact info is on my web site:

The IPCC’s deadline to submit comments has been extended, because of the COVID-19 crisis, so we still have eight weeks left to comment on the AR6 WG1 SOD. The deadline for submission of comments is now June 5, 2020, at midnight CET (which is 7PM EDT), or perhaps 6PM EDT if they really meant CEST, as seems likely.

I won’t sugarcoat it: reviewing IPCC climate reports is an unpleasant chore. Not only are the Reports enormous, the IPCC’s policies make the “expert review” process largely ineffectual.

Despite the similarity in names, the IPCC’s expert review process does not resemble academic peer review. The IPCC’s expert reviewers have no authority of any sort, and the authors are free to ignore anything or everything that the reviewers write.

The IPCC’s authors promise to eventually write responses to all expert reviewer comments, but they will not permit the expert reviewers to see those responses, until after the final version of the Report is released to the public. While reviewing the Second Order Draft, an expert reviewer is not permitted to see the other reviewers’ comments on the First Order Draft, nor even the authors’ responses to his own comments on the First Order Draft.

They did the same thing for AR5, which greatly frustrated me, and significantly degraded the effectiveness of the review process, and the quality of the final Report.

For instance, in comments about several different parts of the AR5 Report, I complained about their practice of adding Prof. Peltier’s 0.3 mm/yr GIA adjustment to arrive at AR5’s inflated 1.7 mm/yr supposed average rate for 20th century sea-level rise. In every case, the authors rejected my complaints. But the reasons they gave were contradictory! Sometimes their response claimed that they did not include the 0.3 mm/yr adjustment (“the 1.7 mm/year rate does not have a 0.3 mm/year correction applied,” they said). Other times they claimed that it was proper to include the 0.3 mm/yr adjustment (it was “done to extract the 1.7 mm/yr SLR supposed to reflect climate processes only,” they said).

I suppose that inconsistency happened because they had multiple people writing the responses. But since I was not permitted to see any of their responses until after the final report had been released, there was no way for me to point out their confusion to them, and that incorrect number remains in the final AR5 Report.

Another problem is that they make the expert reviewers sign confidentiality agreements, and then refuse to tell the expert reviewers who the other expert reviewers are. That’s why I would like you to tell me if you have registered as an expert reviewer: so I can know who I can talk to about it, without violating the confidentiality agreement.

So, you might be wondering, after all that, why would you want to participate?

● Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone needs to do it.

● Also, it gives you a sneek peek to let you see what’s coming.

● Also, it puts your comments and criticisms on public record. The IPCC promises that, eventually, after the final AR6 WGI Report is released, all the reviewer comments and the authors’ responses will be made public.

● Also, it will potentially help me, because once you’ve signed the confidentiality agreement and have been accepted as a reviewer, it will be “legal” for me to consult with you, about my own comments.

● Also, it gives you better moral standing for criticizing inaccuracies in the AR6 Report, later. Nobody will be able to say, “you had your chance, but you declined to take it, so shut up.”

● Also, it is even possible that, in some small way, your review comments just might persuade the authors to actually correct some errors, and improve the Report.

● Also, because “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

This is the IPCC’s “AR6 WGI FOD Expert Review Guidance Note.”

Here are their guidance notes for lead authors, including the literature publication deadlines for use in the Report:

The expert reviewer registration / application form is short and simple. You can register online, here::


Dave Burton

My contact info is on my web site:

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April 10, 2020 2:24 am

I prefer making sarky comments, later. This is not my job, it’s theirs, and if they’re no good at it that’s not my problem, either.

April 10, 2020 2:26 am

The IPCC reports are propaganda poorly disguised as science. Reviewers are supporting the UN’s process by making the reports appear to have value. Why anyone who understands this would support the UN’s power-hungry bureaucrats by contributing to their process is beyond me.

Stay safe and healthy,

April 10, 2020 3:35 am

You have my sympathy, but this is like trying to light a candle underwater. The methodology already makes it clear that there is no way they will be listening to any criticism. Even the responses they gave you show that there was no integrity in the process whatsoever.

Reply to  Hivemind
April 10, 2020 12:37 pm

After I wrote it, I wondered whether my missive came across as perhaps too cynical. Maybe not.

April 10, 2020 4:21 am

Yea Gods.
You have to tell expert reviewers how to fill out the form!

That is surely incredibly insulting to the intelligence of those you are inviting to review – or is it?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  ghalfrunt
April 10, 2020 8:01 am

Probably going with the fact that some previous expert reviewers have come up with some real doozeys. You know, like Santer, Mann, people like that need hand-holding.

Reply to  ghalfrunt
April 10, 2020 12:46 pm

You’re referring to the “check ‘Entire Report'” arrow, I presume. Sorry about that, ghalfrunt. I didn’t mean to come across as condescending.

That option seemed worth recommending for two reasons:

1. It is new. They didn’t have that option for the FOD. So it might have been overlooked by some, this time.

2. I hope to be able to discuss the SOD with other expert reviewers, without rising violation of the IPCC’s confidentiality agreement. I don’t know whether expert reviewers who check only some of the boxes are permitted to see the other chapters. If we all check “Entire Report” then there can be no question about what we are allowed to discuss among ourselves. But if we don’t then it will be harder to know what we’re allowed to discuss.

Nick Graves
April 10, 2020 4:25 am

1. Far too much of an ignoramus compared to many contributors here.

2. I suspect this is a done deal and [insert ad-hominem]s will be ignored.

Mike Bryant
April 10, 2020 5:16 am

I have an idea! Why don’t we leave the United Nations and the lying IPCC? Is the UN a force for good in this world? I don’t think so. Anything that gives any legitimacy to that failed organization is a mistake. Let’s keep our science, integrity, our money and our sanity by doing the right thing.

Ron Long
Reply to  Mike Bryant
April 10, 2020 6:19 am

Right on, Mike B.! Now we see that the World Health Organization, part of the United Nations, is openly “China Centric” and supporting lies that are not only dangerous but suggestive of bribery. I vote to move the whole lot to China. By the way, I have personal experience with the United Nations as an official country representative to the IAEA review in Vienna, Austria. The disgusting environment of United Nations bureaucrats is difficult to describe without sounding a little crazy, it’s that bad. Stay safe.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Ron Long
April 10, 2020 8:11 am

Ron, Don’t forget… Man is very good at making a comfortable home out of what ever materials are available (e.g., UN funding) :<)

Reply to  Mike Bryant
April 10, 2020 12:53 pm

Mike asked, “Why don’t we leave the United Nations and the lying IPCC?”

My mama used to say, “if wishes were horses then beggars would ride.”

We play with the hand we’re dealt. We do not have the ability to withdraw our various nations from the U.N., so that’s not one of the alternatives available for us to choose. We can choose to participate in the AR6 review process, and try to improve it in some small way, or we can choose not to. Those are our only choices, today.

I recommend trying to light a candle, even a very small candle, rather than wishing in vain that it were daytime.

Mike Bryant
Reply to  Dave Burton
April 11, 2020 7:09 am

I respectfully disagree.

Robert Rust
Reply to  Mike Bryant
April 16, 2020 1:20 pm

Say something relevant/meaningful, you’re talking like you are a god/Nature. Every scientist in the world has one of two choices: add to the review process by joining it, or not add to the review process by not joining it.

So you are saying you disagree with a scientist adding and with a scientist not adding. Thusly, you disagree with everything, which means you agree with nothing, not even yourself, making yourself meaningless and irrelevant.

Say something definite instead of nothing if you choose to comment. Politics has enough hot air.

Your disagreement is, logically, a statement that all world/central controlling bodies, intrinsically connected to each other, must be extinguished. Eliminate IPCC and/or UN and Pandora’s box opens, here comes Medusa.

How, then, do you propose to kill the Parasite structure that your life depends on, Modern Civilization/Medusa?

The only choice you have is to add to the report or not add to the report. Nature/Earth will take care of the rest.

The Hindus call the caretaker Vishnu; the Hebrews, the flaming sword; the Chinese, the Dragon; Cambodians, the 7 snake-headed/lion Naga; Christianity, the Beast; Aztecs, the Feathered Serpent; Greeks/Romans, the Gorgon Medusa; Politicized/World Geology doesn’t want to call it what it is. So, don’t worry, Earth/Nature has everything under control, as always. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Wind, and Volcanos. Evolution by Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Medusa meets Gorgon Medusa.

April 10, 2020 5:52 am

They will have the same problem they had recruiting the Facebook censors. They’ll all be left wingers.

April 10, 2020 7:08 am

Dear Dave et. al.,
1) Please explain the statements from the Review Editors similar to:
“I didn’t find substantive contentious or controversial issues were raised during
the review process.
.. I found that all substantive expert and government review comments
have been afforded appropriate consideration.”
2) Where can we see the full list of comments, actions and replies during the AR5 WG1 etc. process?
Is it..
Look under “Drafts and Review Materials” and “Comments and Responses”
3) Could this process for future reports be be turned into a GIT repository (or similar) where we have full visibility and traceability? Does Honest peer review require people/orgs being anonymous? Does a thorough review require honest debate with comments all made public and reviewers allowed to repeat the process?


Paul Penrose
Reply to  tygrus
April 10, 2020 9:47 am

1) They lied. Surprised?
2) As the OP stated, the review comments from both the first and second draft were only available after the final report had been published. Of course they are still there. Big deal.
3) It’s not that the IPCC can’t make the review comments and responses available before the final report is published, it’s that they *don’t want to*. They want to have the cover of saying they had an “expert review’ without the responsibility of having an actual review.

April 10, 2020 7:40 am

I love the statement at the bottom, you only have to declare you have expertise.
I always go to a witchdoctor for my medical issues because he declares expertise 🙂

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  LdB
April 10, 2020 9:12 am

You can declare expertise…it doesn’t mean they’ll accept you as a reviewer.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
April 10, 2020 1:19 pm

Yes, LdB, it is interesting that that seems to be “looser” than it was for AR5.

Hmmm… I just rummaged around on my hard drive, but at the moment I can’t seem to find the equivalent from AR5. I recall that they wanted more documentation of qualifications than they do this year, but the details escape me.

Andrew Hamilton
Reply to  Dave Burton
April 10, 2020 2:59 pm

They may or may not say it anywhere on the form; I can’t recall, but you must have had your name on a published paper to qualify. Since my career route was that of engineering and since Engineers tend not to publish papers, I don’t qualify. A larger proportion of my job than I’d like it to be, is to review documents of the broadest range, so there’s no one better placed to review IPCC documents. Yet, I don’t qualify. IPCC is as frustrating as the proverbial bar of soap. Just the way they like it.

Reply to  Andrew Hamilton
April 11, 2020 12:54 am

Yes, that is consistent with what I think I recall, Andrew. However, it appears that they’ve loosened it up, for AR6.

I encourage you to register / apply, this time. Let me know whether they accept or reject your application.

April 10, 2020 8:41 am

You only have to look at the titles of the chapters to know which material will be reviewed and which will be omitted.

The Summary For Policymakers will already have been written.

It’s like Cook et al (2013), the 97% was set before the quantification was performed.

Reply to  leitmotif
April 11, 2020 5:57 am

I love the section “changing the state of the climate system”, classic climate science.

Martin Hovland
April 10, 2020 9:00 am

I’m one of the expert reviewers you are looking out for, Dave, so I have now contacted you. My main interest is to see how IPCC is narrating the Holocene period. How they manage to keep the temperatures as minimal as possible, so they avoid temperatures higher than max 2 degrees C in the period between the Saalian and the current Holocene periods. I have just gleaned at how they do that, and can assure you the methods are very interesting indeed…. Anyway, here is the role of the IPCC, so that you don’t forget it: “The role of the IPCC is to critically assess the scientific, technical, and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the impacts of human-induced climate change, including its risks, opportunities and options for adaptation and mitigation. This task is performed through a comprehensive, open, and transparent assessment of the scientific literature. The robustness of IPCC assessments stems from the consideration and combination of multiple lines of independent evidence. In addition, these reports undergo one of the most exhaustive, open, and rigorous review and revision processes ever designed for science assessments.”

Pat Frank
Reply to  Martin Hovland
April 10, 2020 9:46 am

Martin, we can paraphrase your main interest as assessing how the IPCC fakes the data to achieve their prejudiced narrative.

If Steve McIntyre’s experience with the IPCC is generalizable, or Ross McKittrick’s, any acutely critical review comment will be rejected.

Why would you want to participate in scientific chicanery?

Maybe the thing to do is organize a group of independent professionals to review the AR6 and then hold a press conference to broadcast the IPCC falsehoods.

Of course, Donna Laframboise did that already, and her effort had zero larger effect.

The only sure way to stop the process is to totally defund the IPCC.

And when the inevitable screams arise from progressives, counter them with the IPCC lies in 74-point prose.

Relentlessly humiliate them in public as the liars they are.

Reply to  Pat Frank
April 11, 2020 7:30 am

Donna Laframboise also did a wonderful job of explaining the IPCC’s problems in this enlightening lecture:

It’s 31 minutes long, but, to her credit, Ms. Laframboise speaks so clearly that she’s perfectly understandable if you play the video at 1.5×, 1.75×, or even 2× speed, which will reduce the playing time to as little as 15½ minutes.

Pat Frank
April 10, 2020 9:01 am

I’ve done my AR6 review already. GCM air temperature projections are physically meaningless.

No one knows what CO2 emissions are doing, or can do, to the climate, if anything at all. The physical theory of climate is inadequate to resolve the impact of such a minor perturbation as CO2 forcing.

AR6 is a waste of time. So were AR5, AR4 and all the rest. The IPCC is a waste of money.

Climate modelers are evidently incompetent to assess the reliability of their own models.

The whole IPCC process is a charade. The IPCC staff is incompetent, arrogant, and dismissive of valid criticisms.

Why would anyone volunteer to participate in scientific fakery?

The best response to a request for IPCC reviewers is no response. Stay away.

Note to President Trump: defund the IPCC.

Reply to  Pat Frank
April 10, 2020 9:12 am

And I second the motion for defunding the IPCC.

Stay safe and healthy, all!


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 10, 2020 5:00 pm

Let’s not be short-sighted. Defund the UNFCCC.

I spent my career as an engineer, and wrote several papers that were accepted at juried conferences. But my papers were about practice, and the professional society was taken over by theoreticians, so practice-oriented papers were not accepted as much after a while. Oh well.

April 10, 2020 9:13 am

Do the lead authors get paid grant $$$ by the UN or not?

David Hoopman
April 10, 2020 9:56 am

Can we safely disregard the possibility that Mr. Burton may have a far more finely developed sense of sarcasm than any of the rest of us? Just wondering…

Reply to  David Hoopman
April 10, 2020 1:22 pm

Sorry, no, I don’t have a finely developed sense of much of anything. I’m just a harmless data drudge.

Robert of Texas
April 10, 2020 4:20 pm

“The IPCC’s expert reviewers have no authority of any sort, and the authors are free to ignore anything or everything that the reviewers write.”

Then review process is pointless.

Paul Dunmore
April 10, 2020 5:16 pm

Dave, I followed up some of the IPCC procedure documents you link to, and found my way to
“All written expert and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process.” Section 4.2 (page 4) of ‘Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports’, Appendix A to the ‘Principles Governing IPCC Work’, at
Are you saying that those in charge of AR6 (and AR5 before them) are not following this clearly stated requirement?

Reply to  Paul Dunmore
April 11, 2020 12:02 am

THANK YOU, Paul Dunmore!

I’ve just fired off another email to the IPCC, this time citing that rule. If you’d like to see the correspondence to date, drop me an email.

Are you signed up as an Expert Reviewer?


John Hardy
April 10, 2020 11:41 pm

I am not in any sense an expert so I can’t help – but I applaud your suggestion Dave. The IPCC is hugely flawed and institutionally biased, but as you say it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness; and some negative comments above may be from activists who don’t want off-message reviewers..

Alasdair Fairbairn
April 11, 2020 12:45 am

If this is the way the IPCC conducts its affairs it not surprising that the science gets into a mess and morphs into political argument.

April 11, 2020 12:57 am

Note that registering / applying to be an Expert Reviewer is not a commitment to review the entire enormous Report, nor even to review an entire chapter. If you think you might have constructive input on even just one small topic, that is worthwhile. Don’t let that discourage you from registering / applying. You can just ignore the rest of the Report, if you wish.

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