In September the NZ High Court is to consider a request by local critics of climate science to get NIWA to change its national temperature record. See A desperate plea to be noticed? and When asses go to law for details.
Their legal action bears strong similarities with that taken by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against the University of Virginia. He claims he was doing this to investigate fraud in US climate scientist Michael Mann’s research. The local critics had effectively charged NIWA scientists with misconduct or fraud – the manipulation of NZ temperature data by using adjustments which the critics claim were not required (see New Zealand’s denier-gate).
Cuccinelli’s case was effectively a “fishing expedition” as he had no evidence of fraud. The NZ critics similarly have no evidence of scientific misconduct (which of course hasn’t stopped them claiming this to the world).
A failed witch hunt
So perhaps the local plaintiffs should take some lessons from Cuccinelli’s case which the presiding judge has now set aside (see Judge quashes Cuccinelli subpoena of U-Va. records). He ruled that Cuccinelli had failed to state “reasons to believe” that Mann had committed fraud:
“The Court has read with care those pages and understands the controversy regarding Dr. Mann’s work on the issue of global warming. However, it is not clear what he did was misleading, false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Chances are a similar thing is going to happen in New Zealand.
Mann, of course, was pleased with the ruling in his case. He said:
“I’m very pleased that the judge has ruled in our favor. It is a victory not just for me and the university, but for all scientists who live in fear that they may be subject to a politically-motivated witch hunt when their research findings prove inconvenient to powerful vested interests.
“I’m looking forward now to trying to get back full time to the things I really care about: doing research and extending the forefront of our scientific understanding of the science of climate and climate change, teaching and advising students and postdoctoral scholars, and doing the best I can to communicate to the public important scientific findings.”
Need to Know’s Alison Stewart spoke with Mann about the dangerous precedent the Cucinelli’s case could have set and about what he calls the climate change denial “industry.”
Download the file here.
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