Epic fail: the stunning defeat of Bob Carter and NZ climate sceptics (guest post)

A great post from Uknowispeaksense, who has given me permission to re-post:

Recently, there has been a court case in New Zealand where a group calling themselves the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (the Trust) were bringing an action against New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited [NIWA] essentially alleging that they used some dodgy statistics to produce a warming trend in some of the New Zealand temperature record.

The Trust was represented by Bob Carter (paleontologist), Mr Dunleavey (retired journalist) and Mr Dedekind (IT professional with some modelling experience). Keep in mind, these are the so-called “experts” put forward by the Trust. I kid you not. Before going any further, I urge you tocheck out their “statement of claim” as lodged with the High Court of New Zealand registry. It stops just short of claiming the scientists committed fraud but only just.

In paragraph 20 the trust accuse the scientists of being “influenced by the expectation that significant NZTR warming would encourage funding for additional climate change research”. Wow. They also accuse them of being subjective and secretive etc.

Well, the verdict is in and it seems Bob and his mates  have lost in the most spectacular fashion, not only failing to prove their case in all aspects, but also having costs awarded against them. But that’s not all. Reading the findings, one gets a real insight into just how poor and sloppy Bob and his mates were in their whole approach. The judge has also given them some severe, but just, criticisms. Here are a few of my favourites. Emphasis is mine.

Section 23 of the Evidence Act 2006 provides that a statement of opinion is not admissible except as provided by ss 24 or 25. Opinion is defined in the Evidence Act at s 4 as: “A statement of opinion that tends to prove or disprove a fact.” I accept Mr Smith’s submission that there are substantial portions of Mr Dunleavy’s original and reply affidavits where he proffers opinions on matters in issue in the proceedings, particularly on scientific practices and the validity of the scientific practices of NIWA. Such evidence could only be admissible under s 24 or s 25. Section 24 is not applicable in the circumstances. Section 25 could only apply if Mr Dunleavy was an expert in the particular area of the science of meteorology and/or climate. He is not. He has no applicable qualifications. His interest in the area does not sufficiently qualify him as an expert. I also accept Mr Smith’s further point that Mr Dunleavy’s views are not capable of offering substantial help to this Court on the issue that it has to determine. To that extent I agree that substantial passages of Mr Dunleavy’s evidence are inadmissible.

[52] Further, I note that Mr Dunleavy has, in any event, failed to comply with High Court Rule 9.43, and could not be regarded as an impartial expert. There are passages of his evidence which are objectionable on the grounds that they are submission and not evidence as to factual matters or even opinion.

[53] Similar issues (as to the limited nature of his expertise), apply to the evidence of Mr Dedekind. Although in his affidavit in reply Mr Dedekind purported to comply with r 9.43, Mr Dedekind’s expertise is in relation to computer modelling and statistical analysis.

[54] I accept Mr Smith’s criticism of Mr Dedekind’s evidence to the extent that Mr Dedekind is not an expert in the application of statistical techniques in the field of climate science. Mr 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. To that extent, where Mr Dedekind purports to comment or give opinions as to NIWA’s application of statistical techniques in those fields,his evidence is of little assistance to the Court.

Ooooh, that smarts. When are these idiots going to realise that being an Excel Expert or a Google Galileo does NOT a climate scientist make. At this point I’d like to digress for just a moment and refer my readers to a blog entry over at my favourite denier blog, Geoffrey Brown’s official blog for the Climate Sceptics Party, where on Wednesday, July 4, 2012,  Anthony Cox, in referring to this New Zealand court case, said this:

Anthony Cox suggesting a case could be brought against the BoM

All I can say to this is, please do Anthony. Given your expertise in climatology, perhaps you could evidence? So, back to the New Zealand High Court findings. After the judges critique of the relevant expertise or, lack thereof, of the plaintiffs, he then went on to describe the extensive qualifications and expertise of the defendants. It was a beautiful thing and well worth the read.  But now to something else that caught my eye.

 [79] A further preliminary point arises. The Trust’s argument on this point depends on this Court finding that NIWA departed from “best recognised scientific opinion”. It defines “recognised scientific opinion” as relevant established scientific opinions and methods described in internationally recognised research journals. In Dr Carter’s opinion, RS93 is the definitive paper for statistical adjustments to offset the effects of site changes in New Zealand conditions. It is implicit in his evidence thatfailure to apply that is a failure to comply with recognised scientific opinion.

[81] Dr Carter, the expert for the Trust, does not directly support the Trust’s definition of recognised scientific opinion. His evidence on this point is, in summary: Applied science in any field must take into account the current state of knowledge as attested by the peer-reviewed literature. Any departures from established knowledge or authority must be noted and explained. If one disagrees with the established literature, then the remedy is to write a critical paper with full reasoning and have it published in a suitable journal.

This really tells a story and I refer my readers to a post I did about Bob Carter and his opinion on peer review where states, “Interestingly, Albert Einstein’s famous 1905 paper on relativity was not peer-reviewed. It is therefore quite clear that peer-review is not a precondition for excellent, indeed epoch-making, scientific research.” Ouch. Finally, this bit:

[88] Next, there is a letter to Mr Dunleavy on 18 February 2010 responding to an Official Information Act request. The Trust seeks to rely on the following passage:
NIWA’s letter of 29 January pointed you to several papers including Dr Salinger’s PhD thesis as explanations of the methodology behind processing the original records.

It may have been of more assistance if NIWA had gone on to clarify the application of the RS93 but the use of the word “including” is again at best, ambiguous. When the passage relied on is read in context of the response as a whole it does not, in my judgment support a conclusion that NIWA was saying that it did not apply RS93.

What is it with deniers taking things out of context? Anyway, the rest of the judgment reads like a “How to make spurious unsubstantiated claims relying on the testimony of non-experts in order to waste the court’s time and cop a hefty legal bill in the process” manual.

Well done Bob and his mates, well done. Now, how about coming home and having a go here and then maybe go and give crybaby Watts a hand to take on the establishment over there?

That way, when it’s all done and dusted and you’ve made a complete dick of yourself in numerous places, we can get on with dealing with the very serious issue of human induced climate change and rising temperatures as recorded by the very accurate instrumental record.


19 thoughts on “Epic fail: the stunning defeat of Bob Carter and NZ climate sceptics (guest post)

  1. Bob Carter and his fellow denialists are as removed from reality as creationists and about as dense and arrogant. They are lazy and seem to assume their opponents operate by the same lack of rigour.

    The NCSE’s excellent dismemberment of the creationists at the Dover Trial is very similar to the outcome in New Zealand with Bob and his bogus buddies even to the point of having costs awarded against them. Sweet justice 🙂

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      I’ve been saying for some time they should be *very* careful what they wish for:


      “For the deniers it may be a case of be careful for what you wish for. As the Kitzmiller and Irving trials showed, level playing fields aren’t necessarily a good thing if your evidence is at best flimsy.

      The deniers would be forced to back up their claims of conspiracy theories and manufactured data. One has to wonder how well their evidence would stand up under true scrutiny?

      Much as Irving and the ID movement found out, the end result would almost certainly be a complete and utter rout.

      Of course, after their defeat they’d claim it was all part of “The Conspiracy”.

      • Toby says:

        Much the same thing happened when David Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, when she wrote that he was a “Holocaust denier”. UK libel laws are more stringent than the US and Lipstadt had to show her claims were true.

        She did just that, and Irving lost the case, had to pay the costs, lost his house, his shirt and his reputation as an historian.

        Deniers may think a court “where they can get scientists on the stand” suits them, but the record of cases says the opposite. The justice system, as long as the court is fair, will bend towards the truth-tellers.

  2. Nick says:

    Those are excellent paragraphs to highlight,WtD. Good examples of the judges powers of observation and clarity of expression.

  3. James says:

    Whatever your position on Climate change causality, aren’t you curious as to why NIWA refused to provide the court with the actual data and calculations showing the homogenisation, standardisation, adjustments and record splicings done to achieve the 7SS and 11SS temperature data series? Instead NIWA preferred to simply have their qualified experts testify that they used world best practice and gave examples of such best practice.

    Aren’t you curious as to why NIWA didn’t allow BOM to actually review the above and nor did NIWA tender in court BOM’s actual review document?

    Some legal experts believe the judge should have made adverse findings on thoose bases alone.

    Yes the Judge did decide to determine two of the Coalition’s witnesses didn’t satisfy the definition of ‘expert witness’ but I would expect excellent ground of appeal against his decision regarding Dedekind because programmes for data analysis don’t care what area of discrete science the data comes from. So experience in that area of discrete science is irrelevant as McIntyre and McKitrick demonstrated with regard to Mann’s Hockey Stick graph.

    You may be interested in the opinion of a legal analyst and science writer on the case here:http://johnosullivan.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/carbon-trader-judge-taints-bizarre-high-court-climate-ruling/

    • john byatt says:

      A ;legal analyst just beat up by a blog comment

      September 9, 2012 at 9:32 am
      Ok, let’s be clear. Are you asserting that Justice Venning has no financial interest in selling carbon credits at Tahakopa, in the Catlins area of South Island of New Zealand or anywhere else?

      Andrew W
      September 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm
      I saw nothing supporting his “Carbon Trader Judge”

      September 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm
      So you have nothing to refute Siemer’s assertion then?

      Andrew W
      September 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm
      That Justice Venning is a “Carbon Trader Judge”? Siemer doesn’t make any such claim.

      Ball is in deep shit

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Indeed, I am all kinds of amused. Busy with work and life so can’t jump in there. But watching 🙂

        The curious thing is, did he just stumble into making defamatory remarks?


      • Watching the Deniers says:

        I’ve just posted the following question on John O’Sullivan’s blog: awaiting moderation, interesting if it gets through…

        Andrew, are you implying that Justice Venning’s financial interests had something to do with his ruling?

        I will bring the post to the attention of others.

  4. Cugel says:

    No surprises there : the judge was in on it too. So, “legal analyst” – does that mean not a lawyer? And “science writer” – not a scientist, then?

    Good luck with the appeal. It’ll be a chance to prove yet more judges are in on it.

  5. James says:

    Cugel, why don’t you risk checking out the link and finding out the facts for yourself rather than making assumptions, or just going along with the pack? Now there’s a novel idea.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      I’ve read.

      There is a difference between a legal judgement, a piece of written advice to a client and such unsolicited opinions as the link below is. As far as the court is concerned, it would be regarded as immaterial.

      It is designed to help people’s cognitive dissonance and ease their anxiety over the significant loss within the NZ courts. It is brain candy.

      I notice this about the author:

      John O’Sullivan, Hans Schreuder, Claes Johnson, and Alan Siddons Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, Jan 18, 2011, Stairway Press, 1500A East College Way #554 Mount Vernon, WA 98273, ISBN 978 0 9827734 0 6

      The publication makes the claim “Crooked scientists” fake the data. I know the work, and it is deeply flawed: http://www.slayingtheskydragon.com/

  6. James says:

    Well then I’ll take your word for it. Glad that’s settled. But Cugel can read the link for themselves and see if O’Sullivan is a real Lawyer and can justifiably call himself a science writer given some of his science coups.

    The ‘trap’ you set for O’Sullivan is so obvious – he has already made it clear – Venning should have recused himself from the case because of a potential conflict of interest because it is important that justice is seen to be done, and beyond question. Vennings didn’t do that, and has form for not doing so in a previous case where he should have done so. That is a matter of record.

    • Cugel says:

      I did read it, and it’s exactly what I expected with this character, complete with various “Gates”, gumment conspiracy, accusations treated as evidence of guilt and so on. He describes this spurious and lamentably presented case as a “watershed”, which it perhaps is but not the way he would like it to be. This is what the shrinking denier world has finally come to – taking AGW to court to make it cease and desist.

      There’s nothing in there to support the idea that O’Sullivan is a lawyer. If he is, why describe himself as a “legal analyst”? I don’t recall his legal expertise doing Tim Ball any favours in court recently, and I doubt I’ll hear of any in the future.

      • James says:

        From ‘About’

        “O’Sullivan was born in Berkshire, England, of immigrant Irish parents in 1961. As an accredited academic, John taught and lectured for over twenty years at schools and colleges in the east of England as well as successfully litigating for over a decade in the New York State courts and U.S. federal 2nd circuit.

        As an analytical commentator John O’Sullivan has published over 150 major articles worldwide. As a direct consequence of controversial revelations in his ‘Satellite-gate’ article the U.S. Government swiftly removed a degraded orbital space satellite from service. His work features in the U.S. in ‘National Review,’ as well as in ‘China Daily,’ the Number One English portal in China, and ‘India Times,’ the prime source of business news in India.

        John acts as legal consultant to Canada’s most prominent climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball, who is currently defending libel suits in the British Columbia Supreme Court against fellow climate researchers, Dr. Michael Mann and Dr. Andrew Weaver.”

        Like him or hate him, agree with him, or disagree with him, he has been influential in the climate change arena.

        You mentioned Tim Ball: O’Sullivan literally put his house on the line for Ball. See here: http://johnosullivan.livejournal.com/42475.html Which of course he wouldn’t need to do if the warmist’s conspiracy theory that skeptics are funded by the fossil fuel industry were true.

      • Sammy Jankis says:

        More about O’Sullivan here.

        John O’Sullivan is leader of a group of activists who deny that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has any global warming affect. In the beginning of 2010, they published a book Slaying the Sky Dragon,” in which they claim increased carbon dioxide emission is actually good for us.

        O’Sullivan has been promoting this book and himself, his other writings, his fascade company called Principia Scientific International, and soliciting public donations through false professional and academic credentials. He is falsely claiming to be a lawyer who has “successfully litigated for more than 13 years in New York and Federal 2nd District courts,” a member of the American Bar Association, a legal consultant employed by the British Columbia law firm Pearlman Lindholm, and a science journalist with more than 150 major articles published worldwide including in National Review and Forbes magazines. None of those claims are true.

        The following links to documents highlight some of the more serious falsehoods and shams O’Sullivan has in his plan to promote his new career as science writer and legal analyst. In October, John O’Sullivan joined the New York County Lawyer’s Association (NYCLA) as a Provisional Member by fraudulently sending in false information. Although he claims in his online resumes and bios that he’s been practicing law for over a decade and earned a law degree from the University of Surrey in 1982, he claimed he earned his law degree in January 2010 from “University of Surrey – Hill University.”

        Hill University is a bogus, online diploma mill that sells anyone any degree in any subject they want with a “Promised Free Delivery in Just 15 Days!”

  7. James says:

    I have only had a chance to have a quick look at the link and some of the material it links to, but it looks pretty damming Sammy and at this point I have to take it at face value and unreservedly withdraw any support I may have had for O’Sullivan who only popped up on my radar with his commentary on the NIWA case – which to me seemed reasonable.

    I did not expect that he would be bold enough or silly enough to use a degree from an online University, which appears to be the case.

    In this case I am guilty myself of confirmation bias simply because I found what O’Sullivan was writting, agreed with my position on the NIWA case – which I still hold – I’m just embarrassed that I used O’Sullivan to support it. So apologies to all at this site on this matter, specifically Cugel and Mike regarding my referencing O’Sullivan!

    I guess I now know how it feels for those who believed Lewandowsky’s paper showed Climate Skeptics also believed the Moon Landing was faked or that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer only to find out what you would expect should be a professionally carried out survey was based on a handful of most likely gamed responses from ‘warmists’ pretending to be ‘skeptics’. 😉

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