Climate sceptics fail in Niwa case
A group of climate change sceptics has failed in its case against the National Institute for Atmospheric and Water Research (NIWA) who they brought to court over what they said was inaccurate temperature recordings.
The New Zealand Climate Education Trust - a branch of the NZ Climate Science Coalition - challenged NIWA figures, in the High Court at Auckland earlier this year, which showed a rise in temperatures in New Zealand of 1degC over the past 100 years.
The group said the temperature increase of 1degC was significantly higher than global warming figures around the world and almost 50 per cent above the global average.
In the High Court judgement, released today, Justice Geoffrey Venning ruled that the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust had not been successful in any of the challenges they brought against NIWA.
Justice Venning also decided that NIWA's cost should be paid by the trust and he said that if an agreement on the costs could not be reached he would make another ruling at a later stage.
During the hearing in July the trust said they believed there had been no warming or a trivial warming of around 0.2degC. The trust also said that NIWA's calculating procedures were unscientific and unreliable.
In the judgement Justice Venning said he thought the court should be cautious about making judgements based on decisions made and conclusions drawn by a specialist body such as NIWA.
He said NIWA acted "within its own sphere of expertise".
Justice Venning said unless the trust could point to some defect in NIWA's decision-making process or show that the decision was clearly wrong in principle or in law the court could not intervene.
"This Court should not seek to determine or resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious expert opinion."
The judge also said that he thought the court should be cautious about making judgements based on decisions made and conclusions drawn by a specialist body, such as NIWA.