Every five years or so the United Nations agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), puts together a huge report that tries to foresee the future course of man-made global warming. The next report is due out this coming September. Now climate change skeptic Alec Rawls has posted a draft version the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) online at StopGreenSuicide.com. (which is apparently inaccessible at the moment). Rawls is highlighting statements (calling it a "gamechanger) suggesting that the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation has a big influence on temperature trends.

New York Times' superb Dot Earth blogger Andrew Revkin points out that both skeptics of and believers in man-made global warming have been guility of leaking IPCC reports. In fact, he was the beneficiary of just such a leak from a believer:

That was the case in 2000, when I was leaked a final draft of the summary for policy makers of the second science report from the panel ahead of that year’s round of climate treaty negotiations. As I explained in the resulting news story, “A copy of the summary was obtained by The New York Times from someone who was eager to have the findings disseminated before the meetings in The Hague.”

More importantly, Revkin asks the right question with regard to scientific transparency:

Here’s a question I sent tonight to a variety of analysts of the panel’s workings over the years:

The leaker, Alec Rawls, clearly has a spin. But I’ve long thought that I.P.C.C. was in a weird losing game in trying to boost credibility through more semi-open review while trying to maintain confidentiality at same time. I’m sympathetic to the idea of having more of the I.P.C.C. process being fully open (a layered Public Library of Science-style approach to review can preserve the sanity of authors) in this age of enforced transparency (WikiLeaks being the most famous example).

I completely agree.

For the skeptical take on the signficance of this leak go to Watts Up With That. For a believer's take check out Skeptical Science.