NIWA v Cranks 4: Shoot out at the fantasy factory

by Gareth on October 9, 2010

Earlier today a Hot Topic reader drew my attention to this article: Legal Defeat For Global Warming In Kiwigate Scandal, which Nigella Lawson’s father’s secretly-funded Global Warming Policy Foundation chose to feature on its web site. What’s “Kiwigate”, he wanted to know?

Turns out it’s the NIWA versus NZ Climate “Science” Education Trust court case, launched back in August. It also turns out that the article in question is wrong in just about every material respect, and possibly libellous to boot. And the source for this farrago? A post by Richard Treadgold at his Climate Conversation blog, where he claims (in characteristically long-winded fashion) that in NIWA’s “statement of defence” (the document supplied to the High Court as a response to the NZ CSET’s “statement of claim“) NIWA “formally denies all responsibility for the national temperature record (NZTR)“. Well, not quite. Let’s look first at the “Kiwigate” piece…

The “Kiwigate article” is by one John O’Sullivan, who claims to be “the world’s most popular Internet writer on the greenhouse gas theory”, and first appeared at Suite 101. Here’s the intro and opening paragraph:

In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud.

New Zealand’s government via its National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has announced it has nothing to do with the country’s “official” climate record in what commentators are calling a capitulation from the tainted climate reconstruction.

Remarkably, just about every assertion in these two sentences is false. The case hasn’t come before a judge, let alone reached a courtroom. I understand there have been meetings between lawyers, but little else so far. NIWA has made no “announcement” about anything, and the “commentators” O’Sullivan is relying on appear to be singular and called Treadgold. The “Kiwigate” coinage appears to be his own, and has found little favour elsewhere.

The rest of the article is no improvement, and includes potentially libellous references to Jim Salinger and Michael Mann. Interesting that Lord Lawson and his team feel free to repeat those allegations by a hosting them at their site. O’Sullivan’s story/fairytale has also been enthusiastically featured at Bishop Hill, Lubos Motl’s Reference Frame blog, and Morano’s Climate Depot. Fact-checking is clearly optional when the story suits your world view.

But let’s go to the source: Treadgold. Yesterday he wrote about his interpretation of NIWA’s statement of defence:

… NIWA formally denies all responsibility for the national temperature record (NZTR).

Now that is surprising — shocking, really. Forget their defensive posturing since our paper criticising it last November — now they’ve given that up and say the NZTR isn’t their problem, they’re not responsible for maintaining it and apparently there’s no such thing as an “official” New Zealand Temperature Record anyway.

Actually, it’s not shocking at all. I pointed out in my first post about their legal posturing that there was no such thing as an “official” NZ temperature record, certainly not one that had been relied upon by government as a basis for any policy. Let’s look at the legal statements in a bit more detail (you can download the full documents from the links in my opening paragraph). Here’s the relevant section of the NZ CSET statement of claim:

The New Zealand Temperature Record

7. As part of the National Climate Database, NIWA has responsibility for determining the official New Zealand Temperature Record (the NZTR), which is a statistical time series of the nationally-averaged annual mean surface temperatures experienced in New Zealand.

8. The NZTR is a public record and NIWA is a controlling authority as defined in the Public Records Act 2005.

9. The NZTR has important public consequences. It provides the historical base for most government policy and judicial decisions relating to climate change within New Zealand, and contributes to the rationale for such policy and decisions.

NIWA’s reply says (translating from the legal formatting):

  • There is no “official” or formal NZ temperature record, but a number of different “streams” of climate information derived from the full database of weather data, including the various long term series NIWA and Jim Salinger have worked on over the years.
  • NIWA is the “controlling public office” for the climate database, and that’s the “public record” not the various series derived from it.
  • NIWA denies that the NZTR has been the historical base for most government policy and judicial decisions relating to climate change in NZ.

Somehow Treadgold manages to parse this as a rejection of the various long-term temperature series NIWA and Jim Salinger have compiled. The truth is that NIWA robustly defends the original seven station series (7SS) — see paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 of their statement.

Treadgold’s comprehension failure then compounds itself:

NIWA has formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence”.

In fact, NIWA’s statement specifically points out that it is required to “pursue excellence in all its activities” (paragraph 4, quoting from the CRI Act 1992). Treadgold is, it appears, hoping no-one will actually read the details and see where he’s attempting to mislead.

Treadgold’s whole post reads a lot like a pre-emptive attempt to spin failure as victory. Here’s his conclusion:

They [NIWA] seem to be doing their homework this time. Their statement of defence discloses that the new NZTR is all ready to go, subject only to peer review by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Before too long the 7SS will be history.

No, the 7SS will still exist, recalculated from the same data as before, and (I’m willing to bet) without much in the way of change. New Zealand will still be warming, and at about the same rate as before.

Victory without firing a shot! It’s great to be vindicated after the criticism we’ve copped, but what an anti-climax!

Victory? The High Court will first decide whether the CSET’s case is worth hearing, and even if the case should reach court, the chances of NIWA being able to mount a successful defence look very good. Vindicated? Remember that the original Treadgold “report” claimed that warming in NZ “had nothing to do with emissions of CO2 — it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It’s a disgrace.” But when the dust has settled, all the temperature records will still show that NZ has warmed, and the glaciers will still have retreated. How inconvenient for our little climate Quixotes… Here’s Treadgold’s poignant closing sentence:

After the country has a well-founded temperature record, I wonder if anyone will remember to thank us?

I think it’s rather more likely they’ll send you the bill for the money and time wasted by a pointless, politically-inspired campaign to smear NZ scientists and cast doubt on the reality of warming in New Zealand.

Finally — and embarrassingly for Treadgold — one of his heroes (Anthony Watts) turns up to an express an interest in a guest post by RT, but only if he can write something a little more succinct and clear. Here’s Watts:

This blog entry is really badly written [...]. ;-)

Ouch!

[Traffic]

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Artful Dodger October 9, 2010 at 4:27 am

As we’ve seen in the last 5 days, Climate Deniers are relentless and immune to logic. I urge you, please DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!

If you must, Must, MUST say something in response to a Comment which is obviously just an attempt to incite a fight, just simply put this, and nothing else:

DNFTT!

Then, let the check marks add up in support of your Opinion, without wasting our precious time.

Carol Cowan October 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I have a different strategy, AD: Trolls are allergic to daylight so dazzle them with truth.

I know there are plenty who come here to harrass, but amongst the readers here are people who are just beginning to seek information on climate change and if all they see is ‘rudeness’ to posters who are asking questions what kind of conclusions are they going to draw? They do not know the history of this place – who is a regular pain-in-the-rear and who is a genuine seeker of knowledge. All they would see is that “believers” in AGW are aggressive and rude and unwilling to answer what appear to be straightfoward questions.

So I will try to engage on the questions I can answer without getting involved with the obvious trolls, that’s just the way I am.

RW October 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I don’t see much, if any, evidence of contributors who are simply seeking information – just an endless tide of very aggressive people who lay into scientists and organisations that take the mainstream position.

Carol Cowan October 10, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Yes, the true enquirers are out-numbered by those who are aggressive, as you say. What does their stance boil down to? “I don’t want to change my lifestyle so don’t bother me with science!”

There are too many people who mistake age for wisdom and the ability to navigate the web with intelligence.

John D October 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

Artful Dodger.

Do not feed the trolls? Are you referring to yourself, since you are the first commenter?

Is this the same Artful Dodger who thinks that uranium is a nuclear fuel?

The same one who thinks that all fuel sources should come from above ground?

How is your steam powered hemp computer this morning dear chap?

Gareth October 9, 2010 at 9:14 am

DNFTT. Stay on topic, please John. Hemp-power is an interesting concept, but not as interesting as NIWA v Cranks 4.

Richard C1 October 9, 2010 at 10:29 am
Dappledwater October 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

But when the dust has settled, all the temperature records will still show that NZ has warmed, and the glaciers will still have retreated.

Yup, the number of NZ frost days have declined too & there is the matter of the pronounced decrease in the diurnal temperature range (night time temps rising more than daytime). All a tad bit inconvenient to the inactivist fantasies.

RedLogix October 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

Glaciers retreating. Yes deniers need to get out more. That’s the remarkable thing….the people who do the work in the field see these things up close and personal know what is going on.

Even I can recall very clearly Southern Alp glaciers I tramped over and around 30 years ago, and on revisiting them in recent times the retreat is undeniable. (I know that’s not science, but it’s consistent with the science and it means something to me to SEE this kind of dramatic change in my own lifetime.)

adelady October 9, 2010 at 10:16 am

Thanks for clearing that up. I was completely mystified by something I read yesterday.

Should revert to usual plan. If it doesn’t make sense, It’s probably untrue.

RedLogix October 9, 2010 at 10:45 am

O’Sullivan claiming a ‘courtroom victory’ when the case hasn’t even been near a courtroom has to be the most mind-bogglingly stupid mistake… or a deliberate blatant, undeniable lie.

A child wouldn’t expect to get away with a phib so transparently wrong.

It’s all too easy to respond with anger and condemnation; but in truth professional disinformers like O’Sullivan are beneath contempt, scarcely worth wasting spit on. Far more interestingly is to ask some hard questions about this behaviour.

Why do they do it?

It’s one thing to ask hard questions, to subject a strong claim like AGW to strong scrutiny. The freedom to dissent and ask hard questions is fundamental.

It’s quite another to refuse to listen to any of the answers you get and to remain ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN of the inherent rightness of your dissent…regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

In the real world, at home, at work etc… there are consequences for being wrong. Eventually you get called on it and held accountable, one way or another.

The problem is that on the internet there are no personal consequences for being obdurately wrong. Instead of being self-correcting, it becomes self-reinforcing… the more a person has invested in a wrong idea to more tightly they will cling to it.

O’Sullivan could go on claiming his ‘courtroom victory’ for months… and what does he care? The lie will serve it’s purpose all the same.

(And just for the record, there is no symmetry here. I’m perfectly happy for the planet to have a surprise up her sleeve and for some completely new observation, data or hypothesis to substantially change our present AGW science consensus. But the only thing that trumps science… is better science. The half-understood gobbledegook that gets repeatedly passed around by deniers does not cut mustard.)

Ken October 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

This echo chamber declaration of early victory is pathetic and just demonstrates how little regard these guys have for facts.

I was interested to read both documents. The deniers are on very weak grounds so I am interested to see how this pans out.

But one thing that leapt out to me. The deniers have Brill as their lawyer. Obviously this saves money as he is a member of their organization.

But for that reason he is in a very poor place to give legal advice or to advocate legally.

What do they say. A person who represents themselves in court is representing a fool.

Certainly going to be interesting.

Gareth October 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Equally pathetic is Treadgold’s attempted response to my post. All he proves is he continues to misunderstand the texts he’s referring to.

Richard Treadgold October 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I don’t agree. You’ll have to prove it.

Gareth October 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Simple. NIWA denies the CSET’s paragraph 5 by restating its paragraph 4, which includes a statutory requirement of excellence. It is in effect saying “your words are irrelevant”. AS one of your commenters has indicated, this is about legal framing. The CSET does not determine NIWA’s duties, the Act referred to does.

As you have a “legal team” (called Barry), perhaps they could explain this to you, so that you avoid embarrassing yourself in public and misleading people who claim to be the leading internet writer on greenhouse gas theory.

Richard Treadgold October 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm

You say that NIWA denies the NZCSET’s paragraph 5 by restating its own paragraph 4. So why does it deny the NZCSET’s paragraph 5?

Gareth October 9, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Because, as I pointed out and you apparently failed to comprehend, the CSET does not determine NIWA’s duties (by its choice of words), the Act NIWA refers to does.

Artful Dodger October 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm
bill October 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm

…shouldn’t that be DNFRT?

Richard Treadgold October 10, 2010 at 8:01 am

I see — never agree with the opponent, however trivial the matter? Ah well. They still face the matter of explaining their denial of “best practices” to the public. I look forward to that.

Gareth October 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

To the public? These are documents prepared for a legal case. They are not PR. Trying to present them as such — wilfully misinterpreting them as you seem hell-bent on doing — is idiocy. The only opinion that matters is that of the judge, and it remains to be seen if the matter will even get that far.

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 9:11 am

Richard Treadgold said: “They still face the matter of explaining their denial of ‘best practices’ to the public.”
Where then has NIWA denied ‘best practices’? Didn’t they just reconfirm that they are and have always been committed to them?

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

And Richard, I suppose you have read and presumably worked through the science of all this yourself?
In that case why don’t you explain to the public and your blog readers where you find fault in NIWAS methods.

Here is a document, I am sure you read it, which speaks at length on this:
http://www.niwa.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/101835/Hokitika-Adjustments.pdf

Let us know where in this you see your ‘kiwigate’ please. That might be enlightening.

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

Oh and Richard Treadgold, I have one more thought for you:

Bloggers like yourself are doing what they are doing in order to influence others and in order to influence the public debate and perhaps the outcome of democratic decision processes, right?
There is nothing wrong with that in principle, unless though the opinions presented are careless, badly researched or outright fibs and are misleading the public.

Since you believe NIWA has a case to answer despite the fact that they can produce carefully argued science papers based on best practice, how would you feel if you had to defend your actions in Court? Would you be able to present evidence that you have carefully researched your positions and that you have employed best practice and scientific methodology in doing so?
Since you are in the business of informing the public and influencing policy decisions if you could, surely you should be held to the same standards of proof and excellence that you expect from NIWA?

Perhaps sitting in a glass house on a pile of rubble is not such a great place from which to start or take part in a stone throwing competition….?

tomfarmer October 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Notwithstanding Artful Dodger’s timely and first comment above I’d like to add how some urls are what I’d term climate cynics(rather than self-asserted sceptics) whose merit to others is to act as a platform for one’s views. With the twist of thereby asking for support… funding.. influence..whatever.

I could be incorrect but this blog’s opening remarks pertaining to gwpf holds the appearance of one such – i.e. climate cynic, not climate sceptic..

Given earlier news of highly pertinent UK events it appears to me that articles and material referred to above and given appearance at divers urls were unwise. Fat in fire etc..

Eco-Terrorist October 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm

[deleted - false email given: GR]

Richard Treadgold October 10, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thomas:

Where then has NIWA denied ‘best practices’?

Their para 5, where they deny our para 5, which gives those words.

Hokitika (HKA) adjustments:

A good review, although we disagree with a few of Mullan’s decisions. The HKA report doesn’t “speak at length” on NIWA’s methods, but it does reveal their new method. NIWA started the HKA exercise to give an example of making adjustments. Previously, they had cited various journals and papers, including Salinger’s thesis, when we asked what changes they made and how they made them.

We were surprised to find that Mullan used nothing from those references, not even the thesis, but instead just compared the target station with “neighbouring” stations (sometimes a great distance away). It didn’t matter why the station was being adjusted (station move, urbanisation, trees, instrument changes), no other adjustment method was used.

There isn’t much sign of Kiwigate in the HKA report, only in the original 7SS. Briefly, the fault we find in NIWA’s methods is that 90% of the adjustments they made were in favour of warming. That is, older readings were lowered and recent readings raised, introducing a warming that is demonstrably not present in the original thermometer readings. I guess strictly speaking the fault isn’t even that, it’s in not describing those adjustments which have that important effect (of introducing warming, making it imperative to explain what you’ve done). The reason, it turned out, they wouldn’t describe the adjustments was they didn’t know what they were; hence the recalculation and the BOM peer review.

So my challenge to you is: tell me where, in the HKA report, it shows that the methodology used is what NIWA cited to us as being used for the 7SS.

Because that’s what we had been asking for. It was stunning to discover that NIWA themselves didn’t use the methods they had been describing (altitude adjustments) and citing to us (the thesis, journals, etc.).

Of course, once we have a reliable, accepted NZTR, we will examine it and then we might challenge anything. But until we have a solid record, we can scarcely challenge the conclusion of a process that’s less than sound — nobody can.

Apologies: I meant this to be brief. Bye.

PS: I just read your last comment. Very amusing.

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Richard:

Their statement says:

“It repeats paragraph 4 above but, save as admitted, denies paragraph 5.”

In the paragraph 4 (which is part of their answer to 5) they explicitly state their obligations as it is worded in the Act that governs them including their obligation to excellence etc…
The denial of your paragraph 5 is simply stating that your claim is not able to alter the ACT under which they work or add any wording whatsoever (even if in spirit it comes close to it). That’s all. You seem to not want to understand the legal process.

As to the 7 station series, surely you would have taken every one of them, looked at them carefully and decided how you would go about reconciling temp records when stations were moved etc?
You are familiar with adiabatic processes where station high changed?
Can you come up with and post here or elsewhere a better fit between older and newer station data based on sound science? Surely you will admit that not-adjusting data for station moves and then calculating trends from these non adjusted data would be entirely wrong indeed and provide totally meaningless graphs.

Have you perhaps taken the effort to use pen and pencil and do a first order calculation of how your temperature series would change when lifting a station up or down by say 200m? You surely would have done this yourself. What was your result?

And if you really did not believe in any sense of using data prior to station moves in your analysis, lets for a moment just look at the data for the past 60 years or so where most stations were stable. Would you not get at least again a warming trend of about 0.9 Deg/Century? What do you read from the NIWA data yourself?

So what is the fuzz all about?

Richard Treadgold October 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Thomas:

I won’t argue with your interpretation of NIWA’s Statement of Defence.

The 7SS:

There’s no need to give our own version of the adjustments! We asked NIWA why they adjusted the readings. They did not answer, and we can scarcely disagree with a non-answer by providing our own version.

Altitude calculations? NIWA didn’t even do that. Mullan uses neighbouring stations only.

As for the warming: since they haven’t described how it was obtained, for it was all due to the adjustments, so, again, we can scarcely argue with it. It would be a waste of time.

Fuzz = fuss? They just recalculated the record. What’s to say, except thank you, that’s what we wanted? Now let’s see what they came up with.

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Dear Richard!

It would seem that when you look at the NIWA website that you will find the references to the peer reviewed papers and to Dr. Slainger’s thesis? These explain in scientific terms the science used to make these corrections.

This from the NIWA website:

The ‘seven-station’ series was originally constructed by Dr Jim Salinger as part of his Ph.D. His thesis is held by Victoria University of Wellington, and the reference is:

* Salinger, M.J., 1981. New Zealand Climate: The instrumental record. Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Victoria University of Wellington, January 1981.

The methodology for adjusting for site changes in the NZ temperature record was published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Climatology in 1993:

* Rhoades, D.A. and Salinger, M.J., 1993: Adjustment of temperature and rainfall measurements for site changes. Int. Journal of Climatology 13, 899 – 913.

The following is a selection of references to peer-reviewed scientific papers and other authorities outlining internationally accepted techniques for making adjustments to data to take account of changes such as movements of measurement sites:

* Della-Marta, P.M. and H. Wanner, 2006. A method for homogenising the extremes and mean of daily temperature measurements. Journal of Climate, 19, 4179-4197 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 4179-4197 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
* Easterling, D.E. and Petersen, T.C, 1995. A new method for detecting undocumented discontinuities in climatological time series. Int. Journal of Climatology, 15, 369 – 377.
* Karl, T.R., and C.N. Williams Jr., 1987. An approach to adjusting climatological time series for discontinuous inhomogeneities. J. Climate Appl. Meteor., 26, 1744-1763.
* Kohler, M.A., 1949. Double-mass analysis for testing the consistency of records and for making adjustments. Bulletin American Meteorological Society, 30, 188-189.
* Vincent, L. A., Zhang, X., Bonsal, B. R., Hogg, W. D. 2002. Homogenization of daily temperatures over Canada. Journal of Climate, 15, 1322–1334.
* The methodology in the Karl and Williams (1987) paper is applied to the U.S. Historical Climatology Network maintained by NOAA.
* Section 4.8.3 on “Homogeneity of Data” in the “Third Edition of the Guide to Climatological Practices” published by the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology.

It would seem that you should be able to verify the validity of NIWA’s claims using the cited science. The papers including Dr. Salinger’s Thesis will be available to you at any university library. Have you red them? What is your scientific critique of these papers that justify your objection to the methodology and the adjustments?

In case you can not do this exercise yourself you could hire a scientist to do a verification report for you. That might have saved you the cost of your litigation and the cost of the defense which you will no doubt be charged with.

Also, as you use and founded a charitable trust for your undertaking and therefore have used TAX EXEMPT income (in other words subsidies from MY taxes) to pay for your quest, you might be faced with further litigation from upstanding people in the community who will make you pay back the tax portion of the money you spend on all this….!

On top of this one could well make the claim that delays in climate action caused by activism from climate change deniers may be causing potentially huge harm to the future of our civilization. I believe this could well be quantified. Where a damage is done in a careless fashion those responsible should be held to account legally. I think you would agree?! At least your NIWA legal action would indicate that you agree and should be held accountable on the same standards.

And of cause if you can not hire a scientist to explain the methodology to you, you could have waited until NIWA will put further explanations on their site that are accessible to the public understanding and do not require the level of scientific literacy required to access the original papers.

Thomas

Thomas October 11, 2010 at 5:28 pm

OOps, the above appeared about 16hrs after I posted it. As it did not show when I posted it yesterday I posted the one below thinking that I must have busted a size limit or something. Sorry for the double up basically.

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Dear Richard!

It would seem that when you look at the NIWA website that you will find the references to the peer reviewed papers and to Dr. Slainger’s thesis? These explain in scientific terms the science used to make these corrections.

http://www.niwa.co.nz/news-and-publications/news/all/2009/nz-temp-record/seven-station-series-temperature-data

There under documentation of the adjustment process are references to the orginal peer reviewd literature including Salinger’s thesis.

It would seem that you should be able to verify the validity of NIWA’s claims using the cited science. The papers including Dr. Salinger’s Thesis will be available to you at any university library. Have you red them? What is your scientific critique of these papers that justify your objection to the methodology and the adjustments?

In case you can not do this exercise yourself you could hire a scientist to do a verification report for you. That might have saved you the cost of your litigation and the cost of the defense which you will no doubt be charged with.

Also, as you use and founded a charitable trust for your undertaking and therefore have used TAX EXEMPT income (in other words subsidies from MY taxes) to pay for your quest, you might be faced with further litigation from upstanding people in the community who will make you pay back the tax portion of the money you spend on all this….!

On top of this one could well make the claim that delays in climate action caused by activism from climate change deniers may be causing potentially huge harm to the future of our civilization. I believe this could well be quantified. Where a damage is done in a careless fashion those responsible should be held to account legally. I think you would agree?! At least your NIWA legal action would indicate that you agree and should be held accountable on the same standards.

And of cause if you can not hire a scientist to explain the methodology to you, you could have waited until NIWA will put further explanations on their site that are accessible to the public understanding and do not require the level of scientific literacy required to access the original papers.

Thomas

Steve Wrathall October 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm

And cutting off the supply of fossil fuels which provide the vast bulk of the energy that drives modern society won’t cause ” … potentially huge harm to the future of our civilization.” Sheesh

Doug October 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Since the Earth is cutting off the supply in any case we better figure a way that it wont.

If you wont pay attention to climate scientists pay attention to the market. Why is oil still around US$80 in a depressed global market? It is not all just due to the devaluation of the US$

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm

As Doug said, we must develop alternatives to fossil fuels anyway. Making CO2 emitters pay a price for their emissions assists this process.
If we do not wean ourselves of fossil fuels in the coming decades we will be completely unprepared when they deplete.
Developing alternative technologies now is what we need to do urgently. This is the ONLY way we will be able to sustain some resemblance of the World As We Know It beyond the horizon of this century, in fact beyond the coming decades! All economic activity is predicated by abundant available energy. On the same token our current world carrying capacity is dependent on a stable climate and a healthy ecosystem. We will be destroying both unless we act now, not soon, now!

Doug October 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Thomas slight correction to your last statement

“All economic activity is predicated by [cheap] abundant available energy.”

There is plenty of energy but it is [very] expensive both in terms of extraction/processing costs and environmental costs. Non conventional oil (which is a misnomer) keeps me awake at night in terms of the amount of potential CO2 emissions.

So no to coal to liquids, heavy oil, tar sands, and kerogen.

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm

You are completely right. What use is energy that we can not afford.

I am watching with some interest the 4th generation nuclear technology debate. Perhaps there is some merit in this. Thorium is not suffering from peak supply issues on a millennium scale and I keep an open mind if this might indeed be one of the stepping stones available to us.

In the meanwhile NZ is sitting pretty (in relative terms) I would think with only 4+ million people and the potential to use energy forests, geothermal, wind, tidal and solar technologies.

Best!
Thomas

Doug October 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I am cautious about nuclear for three reasons

1 Waste management (security) and disposal
2 Cost (yes again) despite efforts Nuclear plantys a complicated and expensive (not to mention the expensive workforce/regulatory oversight )
3 Scalability – to meet current demand, not to mention future demand, the number of plants that would need to be built and the demand on resources and capital to do so are mind boggling.

cheers Doug

John D October 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Nuclear is generally not considered an economically viable option in NZ, though I haven’t seen the numbers.

Agreed Thorium looks very promising, both from a safety, cleanliness and sustainability position, but it is not currently a commercial reality.

There is possibly a time when a small scale nuclear reactor could be deployed in NZ.

Unfortunately, NZers can’t see beyond their anti-nuclear myopia, preferring to litter the countryside in useless windfarms and dam precious West Coast rivers.

John D October 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Apologies for wandering off topic. This thread is “NIWA vs Cranks”

So we should not be discussing nuclear options, but mercilessly mocking the Evil Denier ™

Carol Cowan October 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Richard, even if it was proved that New Zealand has been cooling down over the last 40 years or more, that does not mean that the rest of the world is not warming up. Global – world-wide, mean – the average, taking into account highs and lows, temperatures – measured in diverse places … are increasing – going up. Simple measured and observed fact.

Richard Treadgold October 11, 2010 at 5:48 am

Carol:

Though you address me, you argue with someone else. I am not trying to disprove warming, just obtain a robust record.

CTG October 11, 2010 at 7:16 am

Richard, can you explain why the 11 station series, which consists entirely of single-station records without any adjustments, does not count as a “robust record” in your opinion?

RW October 11, 2010 at 8:43 am

Treadgold and his friends aren’t in the least interested in being shown a “robust record”. They simply want to distract people who could be doing more important things. To them, station data only count when they support their absurd hypotheses.

Thomas October 11, 2010 at 9:49 am

I think Treadgold at al have fallen victim of their own myopia.

They are going about their quest trying to find evidence of data fuddling and AGW hyping as they hold a deep (irrational) belief that AGW is not happening because they are deeply suspicious of what needs to happen to mitigate AGW: Common solutions based on international treaties and government intervention.

There is one common thread that connects the vast majority of so called AGW deniers: They all are deeply suspicious of government, socialism and internationalism and belong to liberal neo-capitalist individualists. For people like these AGW is a proxy war. The real issue is their irrational fear of cooperation, government, social justice and internationalism.

So they set out, ill equipped scientifically, to nitpick NIWAs data. Some ignorant dufus downloaded the NIWA raw data and made a plot of it. OH DEAR! No warming trend!!! The thought that the raw data are not very useful for seeing the trend unless you know and work with all the issues that are noted on the way they were generated never crossed their mind.
From this moment onwards they where hooked like a fish on a lure. And when somebody pointed out to them that the raw data need to be adjusted for all sorts of effects before you can see the real trend they smelled fraud.

Anyway as they think they are reeling in NIWA, its them who are the fish on the hook reeling themselves in and onto the dry….
Its comical really!

RW October 11, 2010 at 10:51 am

You have expressed it perfectly. For those who have never read the original thread on NIWA’s data relating to the NZ temperature series, the ignoramuses have come up with some real howlers. One of them assumed that “Molesworth” referred to Wellington’s Molesworth Street …. and that’s just for starters.

Thomas October 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

To ad to this: I just watched a video of Treadgold speaking to his ACT sympathizers. It struck me then that this whole charade is about the ACT gurus keeping their faithful flock hooked to their message.
As ACT is self destructing as we speak, they desperately need a message to keep themselves busy with something. This is an in-house show and Treadgold is doing it for the applause from his own fellowship as is so obvious when you watch him speak. Now he has a very hard time to admit that he was mistaken on the points of science as that would discredit him in the face of those who’s admiration he so much desires. Just like many others who hung themselves out to dry on one lost cause or another before him he will cry “CONSPIRACY” once this has run his course. Ah well…..

Richard Treadgold October 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm

It might or might not be robust but it does not mend the 7SS’s lack of robustness. It was irrelevant to the problems with the 7SS when produced and remains irrelevant.

It is a cheerfully cherry-picked little series which has been torn to shreds. Eleven stations? Don’t you believe it. The stations drop in and out of that record like sandflies at a picnic.

It’s what “shonky” was invented to describe. See NZ climate crisis gets worse by Barry Brill.

Gareth October 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Nonsense. Your original “paper” claimed that warming was an artefact of the adjustments. The subsequent “11 station” series showed that stations that needed few adjustments also showed warming. It established that your initial paper was rubbish. Your response: claim it’s irrelevant.

Risible.

CTG October 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Well, that response pretty much gives the lie to the notion that all you want is a “robust temperature record”. I note that you don’t ever actually define “robust” anyway, which gives you plenty of wiggle room to declare that any temperature record produced by NIWA is not robust enough for you.

Of course, we all know that you will never accept any temperature record which shows warming.

The court case is a waste of everyone’s time and money.

RW October 11, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Absolute garbage. It wouldn’t matter which set, large or small, was chosen – they all show the same thing, which you and your moronic fellow fantasists will cheerfully deny. Barry Brill? Hilarious.

Ken October 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

Richard – if you were interest in a robust records why promote the discredit report of yours “Are we warming yet?”?

It made claims which were demonstrably wrong. Even your mate Vincent Gray admitted he should have checked better (he claims to have missed the assertion that no adjustments are required). Even on this detail you claimed no scientific vetting of the report – Vincent claimed this was his job?? Speaking with a forked tongue)

The report has been shown to be wrong. You have denied requests for the data and methodology used in that report. You keep referring to a “science team” behind you which “wishes to remain anonymous (Strange scientists – I have never come across scientists ashamed of their work before). My own investigation found that some of the data in your graphs differs from the data in the official database!!

You yourself admitted that this report wasn’t scientific – it was political. Will clearly it was. You aren’t interested in the record at all, you are interested in ACT politics. And promote these.

One advantage of this legal case is that most probably you and your mates will be thoroughly discredited. Either because it is thrown out as not serious or malicious and won’t proceed, or becuase your claims are rejected. Hopefully expenses will be awarded against you.

I guess you realise this and are trying to make hay by misrepresented the NIWA response to your claims. Even presenting it overseas as a legal victory for you!

Gareth October 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

If “recalculation” was what you wanted, and you knew it was underway before the legal action was initiated, why bother initiating the case? I’m sorry, but this is just another demonstration of the bad faith in which your whole campaign has been conducted.

Richard Treadgold October 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

We “knew” it was under way? You misunderstand what happened. Early this year NIWA promised to redo the 7SS, producing Hokitika quite quickly. After months with no communication from NIWA and no sign of progress the NZCSC decided to test them with an Application for Judicial Review.

Well, strangely, NIWA suddenly announced they were nearly finished! Wonderful! Just what we wanted. But it’s wrong to characterise our moves as being undertaken in bad faith.

Remember this: we rattled NIWA’s cage in our first report to get them to do something, knowing that they would be difficult — Salinger et al. had refused polite requests from Warwick Hughes, Vincent Gray and others for many years, but all we actually asked for was an explanation of what they did. They couldn’t answer us.

Haven’t you ever thought about that?

Gareth October 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm

More disingenuous nonsense Richard. You knew the recalculation was under way, you had confirmation that money had been provided, and the description of the Hokitika adjustments to illustrate the process. But you brought the case to jolly them along? You didn’t just write an email to ask? Pathetic. This has always been about political grandstanding — attempting to make it look like there are problems with the NZ temp record.

You are re-writing your own history to try to make it look reasonable. Fortunately, you have left a detailed trail of comments and statements over the last year that make it quite clear what you were all up to. At some point, I will provide a timeline…

Richard Treadgold October 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

all we actually asked for was an explanation of what they did. They couldn’t answer us.

Haven’t you ever thought about that?

Macro October 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm

You have had an answer and the explanation of what has been done is there for all who wish to see.
What makes you so special that you think you should recieve a step by step algorythm? and would it make any difference?
I note that you are unwilling to answer Thomas at 31 and 33 above. Is this because to answer truthfull would be to admit that your posturing is based on ignorance? Or simply willful disingenuity?

Bob English October 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Thomas says: On top of this one could well make the claim that delays in climate action caused by activism from climate change deniers may be causing potentially huge harm to the future of our civilization.

Oh yeah, really.

So what about Prof Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who says that “Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life”?

Is he a “denier” too?

Will we get our money back when this fraud is finally exposed for what it is?

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Hal Lewis is one member of an almost 50,000 member strong organization. He belongs to a circle around Fred Singer who is well known for his prior work for the Tobacco and Oil industries whenever government regulation of lucrative industries threatened.
Hal Lewis, Singer and a total of 162 signatories (3.2 per-mill of the APS membership) demanded that the APS water down their stance on global warming. Needless to say, their campaign did not succeed.
The APS will do well without Hal and an eloquent rant (Hals resignation letter) neither establishes fact (let us see what the APS has to say when they get a chance to answer) nor does it change science or the working of Nature.
This is just another irrelevant PR shot fired by the climate denial machinery and nothing else.

Leapy October 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Hi Bob,
Ever heard the saying: one swallow does not a summer make. Likewise a retired physics professor who’s in his 80′s decrying AGW does not invalidate the 95%+ of climate scientists that acknowledge the influence of man on climate.
I hope for all of our sakes that a AGW is proved to be a hoax, if so I’ll gladly give you your money back. However, back in the real world ….

Thomas October 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm

In fact 99.68 % of the APS members did not sign Hal’s appeal. No wonder he is grumpy….;-)

MrSmith October 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Is it just me or do you get the feeling most of the cranks and deniers are religious or at-least ‘believe’ that they can crap in there own nappies as much as they like, because the big man (god) will be along shortly to change them.

Carol Cowan October 10, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Many do appear to be so, Mr Smith. But many climate scientists and climate bloggers are concerned Christians eg John Cook at Skepticalscience.com, and I am one, too. So one cannot generalize too far on that.

bill October 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

A bit of an outré analogy, and to expand it I’d suggest there does appear to be a pungent streak of it that’s going to be hard to shift.

Or there’s the James Watt (Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior) fundamentalist type of thinking; why worry? the rapture’s due any minute now; then we’ll cast of this loathsome planet along with our loathsome bodies (arguably the most maladapted outlook an organism is capable of developing!)

However, as Carol points out, there are plenty of ‘Wise Stewardship’ Christians on our side of this debate. We don’t need to come over all Pharyngula… :-)

Doug October 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Wind is not useless it produced 1,456 GWh last year based on 496 MW installed capacity a capacity/load factor of 33.5%. From what I can find that is the highest in the world (anyone know anything about Chile). I would love to know what West Wind is running at. No wonder it is economical in NZ without any subsidies.

For comparison in NZ Gas last year had a capacity factor 64.9% (running as baseload and firming) Hydro was 50% running as firming and peaking.

Geothermal was 81% (baseload)

Globally Nuclear appears to run at 68% percent (again as baseload).

Malcolm October 12, 2010 at 10:57 am

The community newspaper ‘The Wellingtonian” carried a full page item from Meridian in its Aug 5 2010 edition. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be online.
Quoting the section regarding output after seven months of operation of all 62 turbines:

‘At the time of investigation and construction, Meridian estimated the wind farm would operate at full capacity approximately 46% of the time. Actual capacity from a number of turbines has consistently exceeded 50%, with a number regularly exceeding 60%. At this early stage, capacity figures like this rival the worlds best producing wind farm located in the Shetland Islands, Scotland.
Compared with the average for international wind farms of around 30%, West Wind is proving to be an outstanding wind farm with an exceptional wind resource.’

Ken October 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Richard, you must be thick to claim you haven’t had any explanation. Everone else seems to understand. Why not consult your anonymous “science team” to get an explanation if you have that much difficulty.

Also what about explaining your claim that there was no need to adjust temperatures for station changes. This lie is still bring repeated around the world. Come on, what about justifying the lie?

Surely you realise this is what the court will ask if they take your action at all seriously.

Did your boss Rodney put you up to it?

Kevin McKinney October 30, 2010 at 9:13 am

“So what about Prof Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who says that “Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life”?

Is he a “denier” too?”

In my book, yes, clearly.

Mike December 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

Interesting to read and to see so many climate change (sorry it used to be warming) brain washed people here claiming science and trying to debunk findings in a court case.
While there rest of us listen to this climate change nonsense being pumped at us while other scientific sources countering climate change nonsense are denied or just called wako’s – trolls.
Copenhagen failed because this would not except the nonsense that they were expected to signup to.
Now we, and our childrens children will be paying for this nonsense in the form of carbon credits to a world bank, that should make all our lives better!.
Love seeing the truth come out and embarrass those who have peddled this onto the world.
Yours is more like a religion that you expect everyone to believe, challenge your own science – is that not the bases of science? it seems those that do are rubbished not have have there findings published.
Good luck with your religion.

Gareth December 10, 2010 at 11:36 am

…climate change (sorry it used to be warming)…

It may have escaped your notice that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in 1988, and that the international treaty within which action on emissions is being negotiated is called the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (est 1992).

You might want to check the veracity of the rest of the information you appear to be relying on.

Richard T December 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

DNFT[T-W]

RW December 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Ignoramus – you can’t even get a simple historical wording right. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen that “used to be…” one trotted out, I’d have a useful pile by now.

YAL, GOTS.

Yoron January 10, 2011 at 1:55 am

The thing about this kind of denials is that they quickly becomes Internet truths. They don’t have to be true really, searching for “NIWA falsifying temperature” will give you a multitude of AGW sites all confirming it, and all sending you around to other AGW sites, saying the same. I had a he* of a problem finding one site that actually used real ‘original sources’.

And an eulogy to you Gareth for documenting the ‘case’ so well. I guess this was a NZ political sort of thing? Showing that the AGW community is well and working, worthy of funding and fear:) ? On the net every d**n AGW site seems to use it as ‘Gods own truth’, descended to earth:)

Parrots they are Sir, parrots.

Disgusting, but sort of fun:)

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