I stand corrected … WG III participants are “listed” in IPCC 33 report

In a post a week ago, in response to Richard Klein’s:

– As is common practice, the list of participants will be included in the report of the session, a draft of which will be available before the next session. See here for reports of previous sessions:

I had written (inter alia):

I have yet to come across any “report” from a WG session which contains a list of participants present. Panel session/meeting reports, yes … but not WG sessions. Even the IPCC draft reports give no indication as to which (or how many) participants were actually present at each day of a “session”.

However, a recent “News Item” from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) includes the following [h/t Donna Laframboise]:

IPCC Calls for Comments on 33rd Session’s Draft Report

July 2011: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the draft report of its 33rd session and is calling for comments by Governments by 15 September 2011.

The report includes descriptions of the acceptance of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN), discussions on the review of the IPCC processes and procedures, […]

Amongst the links included in this IISD news item was one to the “IPCC 33 Draft Report“. These session reports are the closest approximation to minutes of meetings that can be found for countless other organizations. For the record, the IPCC site also contains a link to this draft report, as well as the notation that “Comments by Governments to be received by Thursday, 15 September 2011”.

There are a number of items of interest in this IPCC 33 Draft Report; however, in light of my above “I have yet to come across any “report” from a WG session which contains a list of participants present” I have to eat my words! On page 8, one finds the following:


The meeting was attended by more that 350 participants, 117 national delegations, 6 UN observer organizations, and 5 other observer organizations (the list of participants is attached as Annex 3) [emphasis added -hro].

Annex 3 is prefaced with the following note:

H – Head of Delegation
B – IPCC Bureau member
W3 – Participants 11th Session WGIII
P33 – Participants 33rd Session IPCC

Names are listed by order of country (with the exception of IPCC Chair, Rajendra K. Pachauri, whose name appears first on the list). Needless to say, the listing is such that considerable manual work is required** in order to quantify the actual number of national delegations that were present for the 11th Session of WG III at which the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the “SPECIAL REPORT ON RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES AND CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION (SRREN)” received “approval” – which, as I have previously noted, in IPCC-speak means:

“approval” of IPCC Summaries for Policymakers signifies that the material has been subjected to detailed, line by line discussion and agreement.

** I’m working on this, and will append link to a spreadsheet when I’ve completed this task (sometime over the next few days!) In the meantime, I have determined that (for example) none of the representatives for Albania, Argentina or Australia were listed as “W3” participants. UPDATE 08/8/2011 07:54 PM: Here’s the link to the spreadsheet, as promised! You might also want to take a look at my analysis, which can be found in this post.

It is worth remembering that it is the Working Group that “approved” the SPM of the SRREN, not the IPCC plenary, which (in accordance with the IPCC “principles”) merely “accepted” this report.

Consequently … since Damian Carrington had declared that:

“The SPM is discussed and then approved by all 194 countries”

and – during the course of our earlier discussion – Richard Klein insisted that Carrington was “correct”:

Damian Carrington was in fact correct. The issue is as follows. A summary for policymakers of an IPCC report is subjected to line-by-line approval by governments during a plenary session of the respective working group (in the case of the renewables report this was Working Group III). This line-by-line approval takes about a week, during which governments propose and negotiate alternative formulations of the draft text prepared by the authors, to ensure their views are represented in the best possible way. [emphasis added -hro]

… at least in this instance, I do stand corrected on the lack of indication regarding participants in this crucial session of WG 3.

But, setting aside the fact that there’s no actual “attendance” record for each day of a WG (or IPCC) session, I’d really be interested in knowing how one can infer the approval of “all 194 countries” when (considering the absence of at least 3 “national delegations”) fewer than 114 countries actually participated in the “line-by-line approval [of the SPM of the SRREN] by governments”.


3 thoughts on “I stand corrected … WG III participants are “listed” in IPCC 33 report

  1. In many instances, silence may well be consent, Brian. Conspicuous absence of participation on the part of at least 40% of “governments”, not so much.

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