NZ climate cranks’ trust folded, Brill et al try to escape justice

The New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET), the body established three years ago to bring a legal case against the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), has been put into liquidation without paying the costs awarded against it after its case failed — confirming my suspicion when the trust was formed that it had been created purely to protect the litigants from the consequences of a failed action. The NZCSET owes NIWA at least $89,238.90, but Steve Kilgallon at the Sunday Star Times reports that no monies have been paid:

NIWA chief executive John Morgan said it was still considering pursuing two of the trust’s key players – former wine journalist Terry Dunleavy, a Justice of the Peace and MBE, and retired lawyer Barry Brill, a former National MP – for the money, but was waiting for the liquidation process to finish.

He added: “On the surface it looks like the trust was purely for the purpose of taking action, which is not what one would consider the normal use of a charitable trust”.

Kilgallon also spoke NZCSET trustee Bryan Leyland:

Trustee Bryan Leyland, when asked about its assets, said: “To my knowledge, there is no money. We spent a large amount of money on the court case, there were some expensive legal technicalities.”

Funding had come “from a number of sources, which are confidential”.

Leyland thus confirms — perhaps inadvertently — that the NZCSET was created solely to bring the court action, and to protect its own trustees from the consequences of their actions. It was apparently able to find “a large amount of money” to pay its lawyers to run the action, but not to pay the costs awarded against it.

A quick look back at some of the dates associated with the trust and its case against NIWA is instructive:

  • The NZCSET’s Statement of Claim against NIWA was filed in the High Court on July 5th 2010.
  • The NZCSET’s Deed of Trust is dated July 30th, so the trust did not exist at the time the case began.
  • The NZCSET’s registration as a trust was not granted until August 10th, shortly before news of the case hit the press.
  • In the two and a half years since the formation of the NZCSET there is no sign that the trust attempted to meet any of its stated educational objectives.

It is quite clear from the actions of the trust, and the glib statements made by its trustees, that it was never intended to do anything other than bring a case against NIWA. It was always a legal manoeuvre — an attempt to hide the perpetrators of a piece of politically and ideologically-inspired tomfoolery behind NZ trust law.

If NIWA decides not to pursue Dunleavy, Leyland and Brill for restitution of its legal costs, then the NZ taxpayer will have to pick up the bill. Even if funds are forthcoming, they will not cover the huge waste of scientist and management time spent in handling the case. Having failed to make warming go away by litigation, they must now face up to the heat of public outrage at their scandalous misuse of public money.

37 thoughts on “NZ climate cranks’ trust folded, Brill et al try to escape justice”

  1. I’d be happy to contribute to a private prosecution against these dickheads, if NIWA decides not to go ahead. They should not get away with their attempt to pervert justice and kill science.

  2. This is off-topic but has anyone seen a definitive list of all the scientific disciplines that have contributed to the sum of our knowledge about climate change? CC is like a vast jigsaw puzzle with no edges and no guiding image. Some may bicker relentlessly about whether that piece of blue sky is the right shade of blue, but it doesn’t affect the overall picture emerging.

  3. The CSC people should be made to produce some money. Allegations of negligence can destroy people and careers, and these were spurious, badly founded allegations. Its been done to me, false allegations that were struck down in court, but you have no understanding of the stress it causes until it happens to you.

  4. Also off topic, but, folks, as I type it is currently 43.9C in Adelaide, the sky to the east is black and thunder is rolling across the ranges. 2014 certainly seems the child of 2013…

    1. Uh and those great great grand children on 2014…. the years of my children’s apex…. shudder….
      I think that the mix of deep sadness and fury of future generations, when comparing their jelly fish teaming acid anoxic oceans and their scorched lands with our picture books will be severe. Their judgement on our generations ineptitude to prevent this planetary train wreck will be harsh.

    2. Bill did you read this from the conversation about the connection between heatwaves in southern Australia and tropical lows or cyclones? The last sentence reads:

      But in the short-term, when the heat is on at Rod Laver Arena this week: take a look way out west – and watch out for those cyclones.

    3. This’ll be interesting: forecast max for Adelaide of 46C tomorrow – previous record 46.1C (Jan 1939 – that’s 114.8 vs. 115 for those for whom water freezes at 32!).

      We already hold the record for the hottest temp recorded in a capital city in Oz. Perhaps we’ll bump it up a bit?

      That’ll be the 4th day above 40, with another to follow…

            1. Well, they did say hottest city!

              Otherwise we could argue the toss for hours – Oodnadatta? Moomba/Innamincka? White Cliffs? Marble Bar?

              Reached ‘only’ 44C in Adelaide, 44.8C here in Elizabeth (northern suburbs – I’m at work!) Record unlikely to be broken now (it’s 3:40 pm)

              Port Augusta seemed to ‘win’ the day in SA with a redoubtable 45.5C.

              Yes, it’s bloody hot!

              Murdochs local minions suddenly deigning to notice the Climate Council when it’s f’ing hot is an interesting counterpoint to the Hot Tweet above showing Fox only talks AGW (down, of course) during cold snaps!

            2. On the Hot, Hotter, Hottest scale, don’t forget to factor the humidity levels (if any to speak of…) into the ‘game’. The one to watch out for is the ‘wet bulb temperature limit’ to human life which is 35Deg C, a temperature/moisture limit.

              A sustained wet-bulb temperature exceeding 35 °C is likely to be fatal even to fit and healthy people, unclothed in the shade next to a fan; at this temperature we switch from cooling the skin (losing heat to the environment), to warming it.[7]


            3. The other day during the localised thunderstorms and 45C episode the rel. humidity was still 10% when I checked – seems baffling! Highest today was 26% at 5.30 am – otherwise 10 or less. Let’s just say ‘Adelaide’ and ‘humidity’ go together rather like ‘AGW Denier’ and ‘compassion’ or ‘rationality’!

              Our first run of 3 consecutive days above 43.5, apparently. Revised forecast for tomorrow now 42C (up from 40) and 31C overnight. Charming…

              I’m aware of the expansion of the torrid zones issue. Count me out – I used to live in Sydney, and I’ll take today’s weather over 37C and 90+ humidity any day!…

    1. All CSET backers, noticeably the loudest-mouthed ones, such as Richard Treadgold, have magically vanished or now claim to have had nothing to do with the action, since it became time to write the cheques.

        1. The relevant thread at Treadgold’s is literally gobsmacking. If I was seeking examples to explain the concept of ‘rationalization’ to a classroom I’d hardly need look further…

    2. Very unlikely, that’s not how they do things.
      1) They don’t get tax breaks.
      2) Charles Koch has often talked about using competition, i.e., they fund entities and keep funding the more competent ones, but not the less competent.

      Where would this group rate on that?

      BTW, Kochs have bigger fish to fry, apparently need PR help, so they go for the “best”.

      By the way, if unfamiliar with PR lingo. PR “crisis mangement” might be called “snuffing out unwanted stories.”

  5. Bill: what was your method of measuring humidity? I find a genuine wet & dry bulb on a whirler most reliable if slow to get readings, other electronic & mechanical methods a bit random.

    1. Kiwiiano, I have no method; I’m relying on the BoM’s – assumedly electronic – devices*. The 10% reading still seems amazing to me in those specific circumstances.

      However, it must be said that I see from a quick glance at Wikipedia that what I don’t know about Relative Humidity and/or Wet-bulb Temperatures could be handily contained in the book ‘The Complete Book of Relative Humidity and Wet-bulb Temperatures.’ 😉

      *I know a BoM forecaster, and I know their electronic rain-gauges accumulate water in increments of 0.2mm, then dump it and ratchet up the count accordingly until 9am.

      1. This chart may be helpful:

        The bottom scale is the ambient temperature. The red curved lines are calibrated in Relative Humidity. The light blue lines are Wet Bulb Temperature lines (WBT).

        Example: At an ambient temperature of 40Deg C go up to where you intersect 10% relative humidity. Then go up parallel to the light blue lines to see what your WBT would be. A pleasing 18 Deg C or so. In other words you can still cool yourself through sweating just fine.

        But if you had 40 Deg C and a tropical 60% Rel Humidity, your WBT would be about 32 Deg and you would be very close to the limit of survivability and sweating would not be very efficient due to the already quite wet air around you.

        A WBT of > 35 Deg is considered lethal if you are a human.
        Bats however are not so good at sweating as it seems….

        1. Thanks Thomas!

          Ah, so my wet bulb temp never rose above 20 during the (now thankfully over) latest heatwave, whereas on the worst day I can remember in Sydney I was actually pushing pretty-damn-close to pegging out! It certainly felt like it…

          Have you seen this? A giant Pyrocumulus cloud – in one of my favourite parts of the world, and one that hasn’t yet been fully rebuilt after the 2010 flooding – generates its own weather system, with high winds and even hail?!

          On the bats – not just in QLD!

          Where I stayed in that state recently near Carnarvon Gorge 30,000 of them (that’s the locals number) would reel in at dusk and swoop/skim the creek grabbing insects. At the same time sugar gliders were flitting between the trees. Nice! Hope they all survived the heat after we left…

  6. Sorry to get all open-thready, but I had to respond to

    Mörner has broken.

    in the Hot Tweets with the customary [*groans*]! 😉

    And The Second Great Schism going on over at Watts’ as I type is a thing of Schadenfreudian beauty…

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