When climate cranks lose at law: Salinger on the failed attempt to sue the NZ temperature record

If you do nothing else today, take the time to read Jim Salinger’s account at The Conversation of the attempt by New Zealand’s little coterie of climate deniers to cast doubt on the country’s temperature record. It’s a useful summary of the cranks’ ludicrous effort, but Jim points out that it is just a small part of a much larger global PR campaign — drawing heavily on the strategies and tactics first used by the tobacco lobby — to undermine action to reduce emissions:

Earlier this month, the news broke that major tobacco companies will finally admit they “deliberately deceived the American public”, in “corrective statements” that would run on prime-time TV, in newspapers and even on cigarette packs.

It’s taken a 15-year court battle with the US government to reach this point, and it shows that evidence can trump doubt-mongering in the long run.

A similar day may come for those who actively work to cast doubt on climate science.

Frankly, that day can’t come soon enough.

Meanwhile, the latest news on the attempt by the men behind the trust used to bring the legal action — the NZ Climate Science Education Trust, fronted by Bryan Leyland, Terry Dunleavy and Doug Edmeades — to dump the costs of their failed case on the New Zealand taxpayer is that the official liquidator rates the “prospect of dividend” – that is, a payout by the trust — as “unlikely”. In the latest report (pdf) posted at the Companies Office1, the liquidator comments that he has only be able to contact one of the NZCSET trustees and that “he has thus far been co-operative with the liquidation”. If the other two trustees are not helpful, the liquidator warns that “they will be summonsed to attend a meeting to provide the necessary information”.

It may be that Christmas and summer holidays is slowing down the process, but if the NZCSET trustees are being deliberately unhelpful, I hope the Insolvency Service uses all of its powers to make them comply with the law. These men have wasted large amounts of taxpayer money pursuing their idiotic political agenda, and must be made to pay for their folly.

  1. Go to the Societies and Trusts Online section, click search register, then use the NZCSET registration number – 2539286 – to find the documents. []

We must change the way we think about the future, now

Hot Topic’s NZ election 2011 series continues with an excellent piece by Dr George Laking, an Auckland-based medical oncologist. George is a member of OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health, a group of senior doctors and other health professionals concerned about the effects of climate change on population health. This article first appeared in the NZ Herald on Nov 17th.

This month the International Energy Agency published its latest World Energy Outlook. It says if high-carbon energy investment continues for more than five years, atmospheric carbon dioxide will unavoidably overshoot 450 parts per million and global warming will exceed 2C. The agency’s chief economist says “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum. The door will be closed forever .”

The IEA is not a fringe organisation, and it is not alone in accepting the scientific work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The World Bank says “The countries of the world must act now, act together and act differently on climate change.”

Senior officers from the UK Ministry of Defence identify climate change as “an immediate, growing and grave threat” to global health and security. Leading international medical journal The Lancet calls climate change “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”. Risks include extreme weather events, loss of food and political security, and increased range of infectious diseases. The World Medical Association has urged doctors to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Rash Brash and the potty peer’s PR pratfall

The schedule for “potty peer” Christopher Monckton’s visit to New Zealand next week has now been finalised. He’ll be visiting Auckland, Wellington and Whangarei, but there’s no sign of any of the high-profile debates his sponsors were so keen to set up. ACT party leader Don Brash is joining in the fun, accusing the Greens of being “yellow” (geddit?) for refusing to debate with the good Lord:

Apparently the Greens are prepared to cripple our economy and condemn us all to subsistence living with dopey measures designed to stop the planet warming, but they’re not prepared to debate their reasons for doing so with a reputable opponent.

Brash considers Monckton reputable? Really? That reflects very poorly on Dr Don, unless he considers that a reputation for misrepresenting scientific research and calling his opponents Nazis or Hitler Youth is somehow respectable. Perhaps that sort of thing is now de rigueur on the extreme right…

One of the stranger aspects of Monckton’s visit is that the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) is organising two of his appearances, in Auckland and Wellington. A little digging into the background of the PRINZ events reveals tantalising hints that fossil fuel interests in New Zealand could be tacitly supporting the potty peer’s short tour.

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Don Brash: climate clueless™ to the core

The new leader of New Zealand’s far-right ACT Party — the former National Party leader, Don Brash — has confirmed that he’s a fully paid up member of the climate clueless™, a worthy successor to Rodney Hide, and perfectly on side with major ACT Party backer, millionaire Alan Gibbs (who just happens to be on the policy advisory panel of the International Climate Science Coalition). But Brash hasn’t troubled himself with working on a new script for his climate denial, he’s retreading some of the oldest canards in the denial play book. In a speech this afternoon to the annual conference of Federated Farmers, Brash trotted out this remarkable sequence of untruths, half truths and straightforward lies, annotated below for your reading pleasure…

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Gathering nuts in May: The Business Roundtable and the Toxic Avenger

Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report this morning suggested that ousted ACT party leader and climate denialist Rodney Hide may be given some bauble of office at the Business Roundtable. But is he qualified? Can Rodney be the auctioneer to sell off Christchurch? Can Rodney’s ‘toxic’ brand fit with that of the BRT when it comes to climate change? You might very well think it does.

Submissions have just closed for the 2011 Review of the Emissions Trading Scheme. (This review was built into the 2002 Act to prepare for the 2012 end of the Kyoto commitment period). Counting the 2008 Select Committee , the 2009 Review Select Committee , and the 2009 Review of the review Select Committee , this is the 4th time in 3 years that the overall ETS has been looked at (plus a couple of Select Committees looking at components of the ETS: eg Forestry ). If they keep asking the question again and again maybe they will get the answer they want.

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