Court rejects global warming challenge

2012-09-07 08:27

Wellington - New Zealand's High Court on Friday dismissed a challenge launched by climate change sceptics against a government research agency's finding that the temperature had risen in the past century.

The court backed the science that led the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) to conclude that New Zealand's climate warmed almost 1°C between 1909 and 2009.

New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust, a private body that rejects the argument that human activity has caused global warming, went to court alleging Niwa's methodology was flawed and its findings were not peer reviewed.

Judge Geoffrey Venning rejected the allegations in a written ruling handed down on Friday, saying Niwa acted "in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology".

"The plaintiff does not succeed on any of its challenges... the application for judicial review is dismissed and judgment entered for the defendant," he wrote.


Venning ordered the trust to pay Niwa's costs.

Niwa was not immediately available for comment but a group of six climate change scientists from New Zealand tertiary institutions including Wellington's Victoria University and the University of Otago welcomed the decision.

"The basic science of climate change has been established for well over a century, and almost all scientists active in climate research agree that human activity is causing the climate to change," they said in a statement.

"For a small group of scientists to appeal to a court of law to find otherwise is bizarre."

They said climate change had caused glaciers to retreat in New Zealand over the past century, as well as rising sea-levels globally and a reduction in arctic sea ice.

"This misguided action of a small group adds confusion to a simple issue - the world is warming and future generations of New Zealanders will have to deal with the consequences," they added.

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-07 08:43

    What's the betting that most of the cretins associated with the climate change denying "New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust" are religious fundies and whackos?

      ernst.j.joubert - 2012-09-07 10:00

      @zaatheist: Well said. Whats happening here is very similar to what the tobacco industry did in the 1950's. A very strong scientific consensus started to emerge that there is a link between lung cancer and smoking. Eventually, the evidence got so strong that, in order to protect its profits, the tobacco industry had to do something to counter these scientists. So they paid a few scientists to express a different opinion in public and so the media created the "illusion" that there was a 50-50 debate and uncertainty in the scientific world when, in fact, there was none. Eventually the scientific truth, which is that there is a link between smoking and lung cancer, won the battle after years of struggle. Whats happening now is that the fossil feul industry has launched attacks (hate mail to climate scientists), smear campaigns, misinformation campaigns etc. to intimidate climate scientists, to create the illusion that there is a 50-50 debate in the scientific world and that there is uncertainty (when there is none), to spend millions of dollars on getting the politicians elected that protect their interests etc. It is their product (oil, coal) that is damaging the stability of the climate and they will do anything to protect their profits.

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-09-07 09:54

    I think the judge did not do his research...

      mike.down.5492 - 2012-09-07 12:50

      And you did......... in that you are a scientist , you have read and understood all the peer reviewed material, you have read and considered the court papers presented to the court and you are more qualified than anyone else to comment.

  • wordis.word.1 - 2012-09-07 09:57

    Regardless of climate change, wouldn't it be worth it to go green just for the sake of clean air? To have cities where you don't have to choke on carbon monoxide all the time?

      LanfearM - 2012-09-07 11:03

      Exactly my argument wordisword! It doesn't matter if people think climate change is real or not, shouldn't we look after our planet anyway?

      wordis.word.1 - 2012-09-07 15:16

      They don't like me :'(

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-09-07 12:25

    Almost 1 degree C in 100 years, I almost feel sorry for NZ.

  • pieter.bekker.31 - 2012-09-08 22:17

    Thought the court was to decide whether the "scientists" cheated by altering the temperatures or not. The Australian peer reviewers who audited the data so far declined to comment.

  • pieter.bekker.31 - 2012-09-08 22:26

    For quite some time there was rumours that the NZ temperature data base are being fiddled with. I was under the impression that the judge had to decide whether that happened. The Australian experts who reviewed an audited the data declined to comment. That was taken to mean that the data was cooked. I do not think that a judge has enough of a scientific backround to decide whether global warming exist or not.

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