Eli has been asking for suggestions about how the IPCC process could be improved. Arthur Smith wants to figure out how to
Find a way to get updates or "supplements" out in between major reports that address important scientific developments in the interimwhich means that suggestions are being entertained but solutions not yet offered.
Find better ways to communicate the report results to the general public.
Bill S. has a timely suggestion
I don't know how the IPCC process works in regards to the workload and people's regular day jobs, but it seems to me that major contributors like Lead Authors should be given a paid sabbatical of some kind while they're on the IPCC job. It would certainly reduce their stress level, if nothing else, and could possibly lead to the report coming together faster (if that's desirable).There is an ancient tradition in science that 120 hour work weeks are expected, but even the quacks are finding that tired residents are residents that make serious mistakes. Science used to be an avocation of the well to do, but that, as track and field, has changed.
The IPCC was started with a serious purpose, but not in an environment where immediate action was contemplated. Today IPCC work needs to be fully funded and this should go further than the convening lead authors who get a stipend. All of the authors should receive travel and per diem when they are working on IPCC business as well as a stipend to cover the fraction of a work-year they devote to IPCC matters.
This is especially important for those who do not have base funding for their salary, but are fully or even partially supported by grants and contracts.
Now, of course, we can discuss the matter as a tragedy or a farce. By way of Stoat, Ethon points out Richard Tol whining that the Irish government will not pay his travel because they do not agree with his views. Richard is astonished that a government plays politics. Eli suggested that Richard ask S. Fred Singer for a travel grant (half seriously)
OTOH, the IPCC should really emphasize (they probably do) using the internet for meetings, and scheduling face to face meetings around large international conferences such as the AGU or EGU.