Breaking: Courtroom Chaos as New Zealand Skeptics Rout Government Climatists

New Zealand skeptics of man-made global warming score historic legal victory as discredited government climate scientists perform U-turn and refuse to allow a third party peer-review report of official temperature adjustments to be shown in court. Skeptic lawyers will consider a move for sanctions that should prove fatal to government’s case.

The High Court at Auckland, New Zealand

The High Court at Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) are reeling after what may prove a fatally embarrassing admission that it is breaking a solemn undertaking given to parliament. NIWA had assured ministers that it would disclose a third party peer-reviewed report of its science for courtroom verification as part of its defense against a petition in the case of NZ Skeptics-v-NIWA.

NIWA’s decision renders an almighty self-inflicted wound to the government agency’s already dire credibility. But worse, the move will be regarded as contempt of court and thus permits the court to grant the plaintiff’s motions for punitive sanctions, including summary judgment. As such, this would bring a swift victory for skeptics with profound legal ramifications around the world. In the sparsely-measured southern hemisphere the New Zealand climate data is critical to claims about a verified global temperature record.

At a stroke this case may affirm that up to one quarter of our planet’s climate records have been fraudulently audited. As such this provides  compelling legal ammunition to other pending/ongoing lawsuits that have arisen in the aftermath of the Climategate scandal. Immediate ramifications will be felt in Canada where popular skeptic climatologist Dr. Tim Ball is defending two vexatious libel suits against IPCC climatologists. Of those cases the one most likely to be impacted is that of Andrew Weaver-v-Tim Ball currently underway in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Weaver was lead author of a chapter on Global Climate Projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s report Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis . Weaver took exception to Ball’s  widely-published denouncements of cherry-picking models.

Last year NIWA gave an undertaking to the Kiwi Parliament that it would permit external peer-review by scientists from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). This evidence was to be presented to the court to help resolve a drawn out legal battle to prove whether or not NIWA had cooked the country’s climate books. Lawyers for the jubilant skeptics now can motion for an adverse inference against the defendants on the grounds that they intentionally have “spoliated” the evidence (spoliation is the withholding/destroying of evidence).

As with the Kiwi case,  over in Canada Tim Ball is having a hard time getting his court adversaries to be forthcoming in releasing their hidden data and records. As in any common law jurisdiction, when a litigant refuses to comply with the opposing party’s motions for disclosure then spoliation doctrine comes into play. Persistent refusal by any party in a lawsuit to hand over evidence on request renders them liable to severe sanctions. As with his Kiwi counterparts Ball will be hoping to win the adverse inference. If granted in these cases the jury will be directed to rule that the party withholding the evidence has done so “from a consciousness of guilt.” In other words, the juries will be directed to rule that climatologists refused to disclose the evidence because to do so would prove they intentionally falsified the climate records to get a predetermined outcome.

A jubilant Richard Treadgold, one of the skeptics involved in the case writes: ”This boils down to a confession to the Court that NIWA has no evidence to show that the BoM approves of NIWA’s review. NIWA does not even bother to present the ineffectual BoM covering letter at page 15 of the Review, for it expresses no approval of the report – though NIWA claims it does.”

But why is this victory in New Zealand so important in the world context?

Well, alarmists in the UN’s IPCC have touted the NIWA record, known widely as the Seven Station Series (7SS), Eleven Station Series (11SS), and NZTR, as proof of antipodean man-made climate warming. These number sets, along with the discredited Australian (BOM) records, represent the cornerstone of Australasia/South Pacific (Oceania) warming. That’s an area that constitutes two of our planet’s eight terrestrial ecozones; or, one quarter of the world’s ‘official’ climate record. In effect, this is a monumental blow to the legal validity of 25 percent of all the world’s climate records. Richard Treadgold has more of the details in ‘Affidavits are for ever’ (August 1, 2012)

Back Story to Kiwi Skeptic Glory

In August 2010 by deft use of the court system Kiwi skeptics scored their first major victory over NIWA – a pro-green government agency  – when the government abandoned any claim the nation had an “official” climate record.

At the time, Bryan Leyland, spokesman for the skeptics said, “The New Zealand Met Service record shows no warming during the last century, but NIWA has adopted a series of invariably downward adjustments in the period prior to World War 2.” He then explained that by fiddling the old temperatures down NIWA fabricated “a huge bounce-back of over 1°C in the first half of the century.”

As we have seen in most English-speaking nations, an eco- fascist element within government has sought to impose upon their nation a tax regime premised on adjusted (cherry-picked) climate data. In every instance, when challenged under freedom of information laws to justify their numbers government scientists have not complied. Each time suspicion that climate data has been manipulated is confirmed when the evidence is unethically kept locked out of public view. Extraordinarily, on each occasion these “civil servants” insist their fiddled climate numbers are more reliable than all past records and actual thermometer readings that invariably show no evidence whatsoever of any human signal in climate.

In 2009 skeptics of the Climate Conversation Group (CCG) really got the ball rolling when they published their landmark review ‘Are we feeling warmer yet’ to demonstrate tha NIWA had fiddled the raw temperatures in a series of “adjustments” that created a fake warming trend of 1°C. When CCG tried to get NIWA to release the official (taxpayer-funded) data they hit a bureaucratic brick wall.

At the time barrister for CCG, Barry Brill, characterized NIWA’s approach to freedom of information requests as “defensive and obstructive.” Protracted legal wrangling then ensued resulting in NIWA disowning any such “official” climate record insisting the data was unofficial and used only for internal purposes. That’s despite the fact there is an official acronym for it and government literature acknowledges that the IPCC used such data to trumpet its own bogus claims.

But since 1999 NIWA had been putting out a temperature record for NZ whenever it was asked to justify what evidence it had to prove that temperatures in NZ had been rising in accord with claims about man-made global warming.

Of course, when you’re career and political goals depends on creating narrative of warming it doesn’t help your case when skeptics can demonstrate that you’ve dishonestly manufactured a warming trend in your “homogenized” presentation that is a corruption of actual temperatures that prove a cooling trend.

The skeptics took their case to court and the protracted proceedings culminated in a compromise whereby NIWA agreed to allow only scientists from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to “peer-review” their data in secret. CCG agreed to abide by the BOM findings and have them put before the court.

But the courtroom farce deepened last month (July, 2012) when, at the eleventh hour, NIWA desperately opposed the admissibility of the BOM review they had asked for. Lawyers for the plaintiffs (CCG) responded:

“NIWA now goes so far as to claim that climate science exchanges between public agencies (both subject to Freedom of Information statutes) are too secret to be seen by this Court. This claim has no credibility, and I invite the Court to draw an adverse inference from NIWA’s obstructive behaviour. The obvious inference is that the BOM found NIWA’s unprecedented methodology to be fatally flawed. As the defects remain undisclosed, it would be dangerous for this Court to accept NIWA’s unsupported opinions on any of the scientific matters in dispute.”

Not only would BOM not back NIWA in this farcical case but one of the world’s most zealous global warming climatologists, Kevin Trenberth wouldn’t back them either! So now NIWA has got itself into an impossible legal corner where the only likely due process outcome is the award of the adverse inference the skeptic lawyers have motioned for – and as stated above we all know what that means.

For a lay person’s guide to what “adverse inference” means see here.

Updated (August 3, 2012):

Richard Treadgold has come back to point out one or two apparent presumptions in my piece. Treadgold expresses his fears, “We run a distinct risk of contempt of court if we appear to endorse the wild claims about the state of the case. ” However,  Treadgold is incorrect because sub judice restrictions do not apply to public policy civil proceedings where the respondent is a government agency. Moreover,  I have sought no input from Treadgold or anyone involved in the case.

I would like to reiterate that my assessment of the facts is correct and my analysis of the doctrine of spoliation stands. Perhaps the doctrine is not yet fully understood and applied in Auckland as it now is in the US and UK. But the courts in NZ will surely come up to speed on this.

The inescapable facts in this case are that six weeks after CCG’s  petition for judicial review NIWA sent its data to BoM so that scientists from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) would serve as a third party auditor. This was instigated upon the February 2010 direction of NIWA’s minister (the Hon. Dr Wayne Mapp).  Mapp gave undertakings that BoM would independently audit NIWA’s numbers and the confidence levels of the adjustments would be calculated and disclosed.

If Mapp (and NIWA) now reneges on this undertaking then the court cannot make any other finding than NIWA (and Mapp) are withholding the BoM audit from “a consciousness of guilt.” As such, NIWA (under Mapp’s instruction) is perpetrating a willful spoliation after Mapp (and NIWA) have staked their credibility on the BoM review. This goes to the heart of determining whether malfeasance has been committed. The duty of the court is to now punish the spoliator.

Perhaps the spoliation doctrine is slightly more advanced in its application in the U.S. where I have most experience of it. But an international scandal will befall the NZ government if the court does not accept that an adverse inference determination must be the logical outcome of this corrupt government U-turn. I hope Richard Treadgold and his  bold New Zealand skeptic counterparts  seize their opportunity for victory and go all out to compel the court to apply the spoliation doctrine to the fullest extent of the law.

24 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

24 responses to “Breaking: Courtroom Chaos as New Zealand Skeptics Rout Government Climatists

  1. Hi John. Thanks for the multiple kudos!

    Regrettably, there’s not a lot I can say here about your post, because the case is sub judice until the decision is released.

    But we really appreciate your support, man!

    Cheers,
    Richard.

  2. Sean McHugh

    Gold for New Zealand

  3. Sean McHugh

    We could never achieve this in Australia. Our Government is too corrupt.

  4. Geoffrey Cousens

    I have been following this case with interest.

  5. Great news!

    Spotted this on facebook of all places and have tweeted on @scotclimate and added to our Scottish Climate & Energy Forum group page on facebook as well as putting it on our own association front page. (http://scef.org.uk/news/1-latest-news/237-breaking-courtroom-chaos-as-new-zealand-skeptics-rout-government-climatists)

  6. Just a final thought, do you have a press release for this. We would be more than happy to send it to our distribution list in the UK.

    • johnosullivan

      Mike, no press release for this so please distribute freely. We want to spread the news far and wide.
      Many thanks,
      John

  7. Pingback: New Zealand Skeptics Rout Government Climatists « Another View on Climate

  8. John, it’s been tremendous to have your interest and get your support for the work we’re doing here in new Zealand. But let me try to correct some of your assertions before the blogosphere goes completely out of control. You’ve taken a couple of points a bit too far, perhaps from a misunderstanding of NZ law and the actual case we’ve brought against NIWA.

    [My points in square brackets] apply to the single immediately preceding sentence.

    New Zealand skeptics of man-made global warming score historic legal victory as discredited government climate scientists perform U-turn and refuse to allow a third party peer-review report of official temperature adjustments to be shown in court. Skeptic lawyers move for sanctions likely to prove fatal to government’s case. [Incorrect.]

    New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) are reeling after what may prove a fatally embarrassing admission that it is breaking a solemn undertaking given to parliament. NIWA had assured ministers that it would disclose a third party peer-reviewed report of its science for courtroom verification as part of its defense against a petition in the case of NZ Skeptics-v-NIWA. [NIWA said only that it would obtain a peer review from the Bureau, not that it would disclose the review, and it didn’t mention the court case to the Parliament.]

    NIWA’s decision renders an almighty self-inflicted wound to the government agency’s already dire credibility. But worse, the move will be regarded as contempt of court and thus permits the court to grant the plaintiff’s motions for punitive sanctions, including summary judgment. [Incorrect. No argument was put forward for “punitive sanctions”.] As such, this would bring a swift victory for skeptics with profound legal ramifications around the world. In the sparsely-measured southern hemisphere the New Zealand climate data is critical to claims about a verified global temperature record.

    Last year NIWA gave an undertaking to the Kiwi Parliament that it would permit external peer-review by scientists from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). This evidence was to be presented to the court to help resolve a drawn out legal battle to prove whether or not NIWA had cooked the country’s climate books. [The peer review and our application for judicial review are not connected.] Lawyers for the jubilant skeptics are to motion for an adverse inference against the defendants on the grounds that they intentionally have “spoliated” the evidence (spoliation is the withholding/destroying of evidence). [Incorrect.]

    As with the Kiwi case, over in Canada Tim Ball is having a hard time getting his court adversaries to be forthcoming in releasing their hidden data and records. As in any common law jurisdiction, when a litigant refuses to comply with the opposing party’s motions for disclosure then spoliation doctrine comes into play. Persistent refusal by any party in a lawsuit to hand over evidence on request renders them liable to severe sanctions. As with his Kiwi counterparts Ball will be hoping to win the adverse inference. [Does not apply to the NZ case.] If granted in these cases the jury will be directed to rule that the party withholding the evidence has done so “from a consciousness of guilt.” In other words, the juries will be directed to rule that climatologists refused to disclose the evidence because to do so would prove they intentionally falsified the climate records to get a predetermined outcome.

    A jubilant Richard Treadgold, one of the skeptics involved in the case writes: ”This boils down to a confession to the Court that NIWA has no evidence to show that the BoM approves of NIWA’s review. NIWA does not even bother to present the ineffectual BoM covering letter at page 15 of the Review, for it expresses no approval of the report – though NIWA claims it does.”

    But why is this victory in New Zealand so important in the world context? [No victory in New Zealand is possible until the judge’s decision has been made.]

    The skeptics took their case to court and the protracted proceedings culminated in a compromise whereby NIWA agreed to allow only scientists from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to “peer-review” their data in secret. CCG agreed to abide by the BOM findings and have them put before the court. [Incorrect. The CCG took no part in the court case; there was no agreement or undertaking to bring the peer review before the court. The peer review and the court case are unconnected.]

    But the courtroom farce deepened last month (July, 2012) when, at the eleventh hour, NIWA desperately opposed the admissibility of the BOM review they had asked for. [Incorrect. There was nothing to oppose, as it was up to NIWA to use it or not.]

    ——–

    I hope this helps return some balance to the affair.

    Cheers,
    Richard Treadgold.

  9. Pingback: Climate Conversation Group » With friends like these we need no enemies

  10. Lorraine Lister

    We appear to have a media ban on the case in New Zealand. There was a report in the NZ Herald after the first day of the hearing and that seems to be it. Television news hasn’t touched it either.

  11. Typically, the politicians, would and should be held accountable for this disaster. As the case unfurls it appears that NIWA have indeed acted illegally and yet nothing is being done or changes suggested. Looking forward to the outcome as this will indeed set precedence and it is long overdue.

  12. Mervyn

    Where is Jim Salinger who made the bold adjustments to the Kiwi temperatures? And if this case goes the way it seems it will go, could Salinger ever be prosecuted for falsifying temperature data?

  13. Sceptical Sam

    Has any progress been made on this as of this date?

    The reason I ask is that if I were NIWA I’d be taking the BoM critique on board, adjusting my erroneous adjustments so that the dataset complies with the BoM analysis and then claiming that a number of “minor” adjustments have been incorporated. BoM is complicit in this nonsense as well and will be looking to support their NZ comrades. They can’t been seen to be letting the side down. The upshot will be that the NIWA dataset will be very little different to the pre-BoM audit.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    • johnosullivan

      Nothing yet, Sam. The judge is still deliberating over a decision. Once I hear something I will do a follow up article.

  14. Simon

    Well come on. What can you possibly say now? This article is such a load of bollocks and even more so given the judges ruling. This is a 10/10 fail for the deniers. I am so looking forward to the spin you will put on this.

  15. Awful lot of silence here. After Treadgold dismembered the post I guess there was not much to say.
    Also the Judge kinda smacked the case around a bit. I guess the Heritage Institute money will have to go on weeping couches?

    • johnosullivan

      I’m soon posting a detailed reply after a detailed analysis of Justice Venning’s decision. It won’t be happy reading for apologists of climate data fraud.

  16. Sceptical Sam

    Given that the global warming fraudsters in the shape of the ALP and their green comrades have been tossed out in Australia by the largest margin in 100 years, with a bit of luck we’ll see the BoM and the other “downward adjusters” get a bit of the same.

    Oh! There it is. It’s started already. fantastic.

    CSIRO is getting a dose of the salts forced down its very biased warmist throat. It’s Labor/Green biased climate research has resulted in up to 1400 scientists and researchers losing their jobs under the terms of a government-imposed ban on the public service renewing temporary contracts. Great.

    And to top it off neither the new and very competent Minister for the Environment (Greg Hunt) nor the Foreign Minister (Julie Bishop) will be attending the UN’s global climate change talks scheduled for Poland next week.

    Hopefully, the rest of the world will follow Australia’s lead and start to focus more sceptically on the fraud and anti-science that’s being pushed by the IPCC and the UNFCCC at the international level and the BoM, CSIRO and ARC at the (Australian) national level.

    There’s hope for New Zealand yet.

    Keep up the fight John Sullivan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s