back to article NZ beaks give climate skeptics the bird

A group of climate skeptics that includes Australian Dr Bob Carter has failed in its bid to have New Zealand’s High Court hear its complaint against that country’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Dr Carter lined up with retired journalist Terry Dunleavy and computer modeler Bob Dedekind under the …


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  1. Herby

    The court at least got ONE thing right...

    They said: "High Court is not competent to rule on questions of science.".

    I wish other courts would follow this edict, but alas I don't think so!

  2. Mike Norrish NZ

    And fair enough too. Another failed attempt by the "why shouldn't we just be allowed to do whatever we want, and hang the consequences?" crowd... The massive shift in NZ climate over the last couple of years alone make idiots of this particular bunch of deniers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah darn those woolly baa-baas, time to get some rubber corks!

    2. elderlybloke

      I am in NZ too

      Hello Mike,

      This "massive shift" where I live is now wet(very wet) and cold(well pretty cool) .

      It used to be hot/quite warm and with drought type summers.

      Have you , lived on the East Coast of the North Island?

  3. mojacar_man

    Spelling, . .

    If there's one thing that makes me blow hot and cold it's spelling. Only Americans spell Disc with a "k", and "sceptics" definitely doesn't possess one.

    As to whether the weather is altering . . of course it is. The earth is a dynamic device. Maybe in a million years from now whatever passes for intelligent life will be predicting the dire consequences of global cooling.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Spelling, . .

      That's because they are American and not English. They speak (and write) a very similar, but different, language.

      Color me surprised, that sort of snuck up on us.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I like the judge's comment "This Court should not seek to determine or resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious expert opinion. Very sensible, I think.

    I'm not so sure about the ruling that Dedekind's "general expertise in basic statistical techniques does not extend to any particular specialised experience or qualifications in the specific field of applying statistical techniques in the field of climate science. The field of application of the techniques has nothing to do with an objective assessment of whether or not the techniques have been properly applied, and it matters little that climate science is specialised.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Competence

      You can see Dedekind's affidavit here:

      Like Dedekind, I make no claim to "particular aptitude in advanced statistical theory" but I can read his words. His conclusion is that "methodological errors account for most of the warming trend...". Not for all of it. He agrees that it's getting warmer, despite disagreeing with some details of the methodology. (In round numbers, we're talking about 0.3 degC/century vs 0.8 degC/century, see the 4SS average at the top of page 8 of the affidavit.)

      So even if the judge had been willing to let this in, it confirms global warming.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Yes Me - Re: Competence

        Agreed that Dedekind confirmed the warming trend.

        The reality of warming is not the issue to me - at least as far as the judge's words are concerned.

        The thing that bothers me is that if Dedekind's statement that "methodological errors account for most of the warming trend..." is valid, then it should be judged on its own merit and should be considered as an objective comment (and a significant one, at that).

        If the judge had dismissed Dedekind as 'not independent enough' or 'not expert enough in modelling and statistical techniques', then fair enough. That isn't how it came out, though. It seemed that Dedekind was dismissed because he wasn't a climate scientist.

        That error of judgement, by the way, benefits no side of the argument in my opinion. And perhaps that's what the judge wanted - a court is really not the place to argue science and scientific method.

        1. Some Beggar

          Re: @Yes Me - Competence

          I think this just illustrates the difference in the understanding of the word 'expert' in a court of law and a scientific discussion. Dedekind's general competence in statistics clearly qualifies him to make statements in a scientific discussion about the use and abuse of statistics. It doesn't (at least according to this judge) qualify him as an expert witness on the specific subject in a court of law.

          I've acted as an expert witness in a court of law on the basis that my academic qualifications were in an area directly related to the specific circumstances of the case. But the actual question I had to answer could have been explained by anybody with a degree in mathematics. Or even a bright 'A' level student. A court of law is content with an argument from authority.

    2. Australis

      Re: Competence

      The principles of statistics do not change to suit particular disciplines.

      The leading New Zealand paper on climate data adjustment is Rhoades & Salinger (1993). David Rhoades is a statistician with no "particular specialised experience or qualifications in the specific field of applying statistical techniques in the field of climate science".

      The Judge did not discuss the issue whether climate qualifications were necessary. He just assumed that a statistical expertise was not relevant on its own.

      A case in point is the "hockey stick" where it took a statistician to show that a climate scientist was out of his depth. Unfortunately, climate scientists (whatever that expression may mean) receive very rudimentary training in statistics, despite the fact that it is often the major component in climatology issues.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a conspiracy!

    Justice Venning is part of the warmist conspiracy! Are not retired journos equal before the bench? Were I not in fear of my life, I would call for something or other. Including the tinfoil hat icon.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: It's a conspiracy!

      If you read their blogs you'll see that's precisely the angle climate skeptics have taken. The judge was "in on it".

      Although they also try to paint the verdict as a victory at the same time...

  6. Christoph

    Publishing the raw data

    The Trust asked the court to find that ... publication of the climate data was unreasonable

    "We demand that you be legally required to publish all your raw data!"

    Oh, the data proves us wrong.

    "We demand that you be legally forbidden to publish your raw data!"

  7. Mike 125

    Don't tell anyone but...

    ...just because climate sceptics have a setback, or even, ultimately, are shown to be completely wrong, do not for one minute be misled into thinking that means there is no global scientific conspiracy to promote the theory of man-made climate change. That would be a big mistake…

  8. Some Beggar

    Irrespective of the merits of either side of the debate, a court of law is categorically not the place to continue a scientific discussion. I think the best way to read the judge's verdict is as a sharp kick up the arse for the people who thought it was a good idea to attempt to involve the law in something it cannot and should not decide.

    The approach of Carter et all is barely a skinny step above that of the chiropracticizers who sued Simon Singh. It smacks of desperation.

  9. dewhurst

    Tits on a bull

    Justice Venning noted “This Court should not seek to determine or

    resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious

    expert opinion.”

    One might well ask what the hell was he doing there then? He could have

    said that right at the outset and much time and money would have been saved.

    Elsewhere it has been suggested that judges hearing cases such as this should have scientific knowledge.

    To that I would suggest that one might as well insist on bulls having tits.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    please Australia has carbon cobs the TV program with this Gestapo bullsh*t how is any one to get a fair hearing on anything they just fine you till you pay or go out of business

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