“Leading climate scientists” make false allegation

We never said it was fraud

Professor James Renwick’s press release yesterday celebrating NIWA’s court “victory” was wrong. The opening paragraph said:

A group of leading New Zealand climate scientists (listed below) welcomed Justice Geoffrey Venning’s ruling to throw out the claim by the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (CSET, a small group of climate change “sceptics”) that NIWA had acted fraudulently in putting together its ‘7-station’ temperature series.

But the Trust did not claim fraud in its Statement of Claim to the High Court, which nowhere uses any derivative of the word fraud. The Coalition never accused NIWA of fraud and these scientists cannot justify their claim that it did.

This fictitious accusation against members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition and its Trust might have added to the excitement of the press release, but the stimulus came at the expense of the truth.

To people accustomed to hearing ad hominem remarks of the worst kind, accusing climate sceptics of alleging fraud is perhaps of no great concern, but to those devoted to the even-handed, practical pursuit of truth this accusation is deeply distressing.

It must be withdrawn and Dr Renwick must apologise. They need to man up and admit their mistake, apologise and withdraw the press statement.

Would proper scientists expect anything less of others?

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20 Thoughts on ““Leading climate scientists” make false allegation

  1. Andy on 08/09/2012 at 5:07 pm said:

    The last link I posted also has suggestions of links between the Tobacco Industry and NZ

    Ironically, NZCSET is part of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, which links with Big Tobacco. Tobacco giant Philip Morris funds the Heartland Institute in the United States, which funds climate deniers worldwide – including the NZ Climate Science Coalition.


    It must be a smear-a-thon.

  2. val majkus on 08/09/2012 at 8:18 pm said:

    indeed, a careless use of the word ‘fraudulent’ which is usually associated with intentional deception

    but it was a soft test applied by the Judge and peer review (other than in the Salinger matter) was not relevant in this case

    quite topically an article on peer review appeared in one of Aust’s national newspapers today, which I’ll copy in full as the paper is subscription only

    What do we want? Peer review. When do we want it? Never!
    • From:The Australian
    • September 08, 201212:00AM

    WARNING: This column has not been peer-reviewed.

    In recent years, the words “peer review” have taken on an extraordinary meaning.
    Once upon a time, being peer-reviewed simply meant you had written something, usually a journal article, and some other people in your profession had read it and considered it fit for publication.
    Not any more. Now, being peer-reviewed apparently means being wise.
    It means you have access to some greater truth which the rest of us, the mere mortals who make up the mass of society, are unaware of and probably incapable of understanding.
    The stamp “peer-reviewed” is being turned into a mark of approval, almost into a licence to speak, a licence to hold forth before the world and have your views taken seriously.
    And if you haven’t been peer-reviewed? If your arguments haven’t gone through that rather stale academic process of getting a nod of approval from a tiny circle of bespectacled professors? Then apparently you don’t know what you’re talking about and should shut up.
    The makeover of peer review has been remarkable.
    Not long ago, the only people who knew or cared what peer review involved were academic researchers, men of medicine and white-coat wearers in the sphere of science, who were understandably keen to have their papers OK’d by a handful of their peers so that they might be published and discussed by others. Outside of the ivory towers, peer review meant little, if anything, to Joe Public.
    Now, thanks largely to climate-change activists who treat peer-reviewed documents about the environment in the same way early Christians treated the gospels, peer review is all the rage.
    Radical greens march behind banners declaring, “We are armed only with peer-reviewed science”. At the big left-wing demo, the Rally to Restore Sanity in the US in 2010, one of the placards read: “What do we want? Evidence-based change. When do we want it? After peer review.”
    That’s nowhere near as catchy as the chants of earlier youthful agitators, who demanded change “NOW”, but it does capture how bizarrely important the process of peer review has become outside of academe.
    More and more campaigners and commentators now insist that only ideas that have been peer-reviewed should be taken seriously. Everything else is bunkum, or possibly charlatanism.
    Last week in The Guardian newspaper, a green campaigner described peer review as a “kitemark of quality assurance”, implying that any claims about the climate or mankind’s future that haven’t been peer-reviewed have no quality.
    She suggested that even newspapers articles written by everyday journalists should be subjected to something akin to peer review.
    There should be a “system of certification”, she said, where “teams of academics” would award an approving kitemark to articles that are “accurate (and that) use reliable sources and peer-reviewed studies”.
    Funnily enough, a few hundred years ago we had just that kind of system in the British media. It was called the licensing of the press, where only those writers whose ideas met with the approval of the king or queen and their tyrannical court would be permitted to publish, while all the rest would be branded heretics.
    Fittingly, The Guardian article calling for peer review to be used in a similar way today, as a way of branding certain published ideas Good and others Bad, was headlined “Don’t give climate change heretics an easy ride”.
    In Australia, public intellectual Robert Manne says that when it comes to climate change, only “leading peer-reviewed scientific journals” should be treated seriously. A “rational citizen has little alternative but to accept the consensual core position of climate scientists”, he says.
    “Discussion of this point should long ago have ended.”
    Here we can clearly see the cultural snobbery and intellectual protectionism of the cheerleaders of peer review. Manne is effectively telling the little people to shut up and accept the Truth as revealed by their betters in academe.
    What these modern-day licensers of acceptable thought refuse to recognise is that climate change, in terms of how it is framed by the green lobby, is not simply a scientific issue. It is a profoundly political one, touching on everything from economic growth to development in the Third World, from how we travel to what kind of expectations we have for our children.
    Under the guise of promoting “correct science” and slamming “bad science”, the priestly peer-review lobby is actually enforcing an ideological world view, using the tags “peer reviewed” and “non peer-reviewed” to distinguish between those who are politically on side and those who remain stubbornly heretical.
    To see how much the process of peer review has become about raising the drawbridge on political troublemakers, consider how the British writers Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson responded to criticisms of their book The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone.
    That book has become a massive talking point in Britain in recent years and has attracted some fierce criticism. Somewhat stung by this, Pickett and Wilkinson said in 2010 that from now on they would discuss their ideas only with those who had been peer-reviewed. “All future debate should take place in peer-reviewed publications”, they decreed.
    In one fell swoop they shut out vast numbers of people – journalists, students, the man at the bus stop who has a lot of thoughts about the equality issue – from any serious discussion of their book. Here, “peer-reviewed” is clearly code for “respectable”, for those well-educated folk who can be trusted to think in an intelligent and nuanced way.
    The extraordinary thing about the liberal intelligentsia’s wide-eyed faith in peer review is that this academic process is actually massively open to corruption.
    Much peer review involves little more than well-connected academics getting people they know or mates who owe them a favour to sign off on their latest bit of work. That is why the peer-reviewed reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have included so many factual inaccuracies and so much eco-claptrap.
    In essence, huge swaths of the cultural elite are using peer review as a kind of intellectual licence, with those lucky enough to receive this stamp being treated seriously and everyone else being branded a dangerous outsider. For all the scientific pretensions of this process, it is most reminiscent of those old Vatican Councils that would get together every few years to determine what the Truth is and how it might be communicated to the pig-ignorant public.

  3. Alexander K on 09/09/2012 at 9:57 am said:

    In any battle for publicity, the first rule is to promote one’s view, regardless of veracity, on the basis that ‘ a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has it’s boots on’.
    Sadly, it will now be doubly difficult to demonstrate that ‘the statement from leading climate scientists’ was untrue as the untruth will become the accepted wisdom.
    Professor Renwick seems quite unshy of taking an advocate’s stance rather than being accurate in his press statements.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/09/2012 at 10:08 am said:


      [NIWA] seems quite unshy of taking an advocate’s stance rather than being accurate in [their 7SS series].

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 09/09/2012 at 10:05 am said:

    “It must be withdrawn and Dr Renwick must apologise. They need to man up and admit their mistake, apologise and withdraw the press statement”

    What are the odds?

    Skinny at Ladbrokes I’m thinkin.

  5. Justin on 09/09/2012 at 12:40 pm said:

    Splitting hairs much?


    “The red line reveals NIWA’s outrageous fraud”

    It’s all about context, right?

  6. Justin on 09/09/2012 at 12:55 pm said:



    “NIWA’s 1999 decision was influenced by the expectation that major NZTR warming would encourage funding for additional climate change research.”


  7. Ross on 09/09/2012 at 5:03 pm said:

    Renwick seems to think this decision had somehow vindicated the scientific process. He must be reading a different judgement to the one I read.
    The problem with Renwick and co is they live in their sheltered little world and don’t realise that the climate “science” they are pushing is being used in major and expensive policy decisions by Governments all over the world. That means discussing scientific differences in Journals is a waste of time –taking it to court was the only way. It was not really a scientific difference anyway –it was a dispute over how data was collected and analysed. It could be better likened to a dispute over taxes with the IRD –how it was calculated and applied.

  8. Angee on 09/09/2012 at 8:34 pm said:

    My view on this entire case is that NIWA have been discredited by the publicity highlighting this case and noone believes their tainted lies. They are revolting just as ACC establishment is they are rotten to the core! [Too extreme, Angee – capital punishment has ended. – RT]

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  10. Andy on 10/09/2012 at 11:58 am said:

    Spokesperson for the group, Associate Professor James Renwick of Victoria University said he was pleased that the court had respected and reaffirmed the credibility of the scientific process. It was a strong message to those wanting to challenge widely-agreed scientific findings to do so honestly and openly in scientific forums.

    There is a slightly Orwellian feel to this statement.
    What is the scientific process?
    How do we challenge the scientific findings?
    Where was the peer-review?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/09/2012 at 12:34 pm said:

      The scientific process will blow away Renwick’s view and the NIWA 7SS eventually. He hasn’t addressed the relative merits of the NZCSET and NIWA series yet in a clinical scientific way but he will have to eventually.

      And Dr Mullen will have to inform us all on why he should be considered a statistician with expertise of more repute than 3 professionals – can’t wait to see that.

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