Summary: NZ Climate Science Coalition vs. NIWA

More thought-provoking thoughts from Richard on the duties and responsibilities of statutory bodies like NIWA. (NIWA is actually an incorporated body that is owned by the Crown, where-ever that plays into things.)

Anyway, everyone seems to agree that their handling of the temperature records in New Zealand is biased and deficient. The issue is, does scientific incompetence violate their charter?

With all this evidence, the Coalition case is looking very good on the plain facts. The threat comes from the need to prove that NIWA has a duty to apply good science. They deny this, and effectively say that Parliament has given them a free hand to do what they like. They argue that the obligation to pursue excellence is merely “aspirational”, being un-measurable and unenforceable.

They are prepared to damage to their reputations by arguing they are under no compunction to do good science. They are prepared to jettison this in favor of “independence”. What follows from the independence of NIWA from a lack of duty to do good science? Only politics.

But how tied is their present funding to their present obedience to their present political masters? If strongly, it corrupts and debases their “independence” to mere subservience and makes a mockery of their representations to the Court. For it could be that their right to self-determination is no more than a claim to public funding by virtue of their obedience.

In fact the NIWA website states just that:

CRIs are stand-alone companies with a high degree of independence. Each year, the shareholding Ministers lay out their expectations for the Crown Research Institutes in an ‘Operating Framework’. Amongst other things, this defines how CRIs should interpret their obligation to maintain financial viability.

The link to “Operating Framework” is dead, unfortunately.

Waiting anxiously for the judges determination on this.

Final Day: NZ Climate Science Coalition vs. NIWA

Quote from the defense:

He must have been responding to our charge that NIWA did not perform its statutory duty. He said: “They’re not duties, they’re not called duties, they’re called operating principles.” This seemed to come from the current legislation, or recent decisions.

Where in the operating principles is the principle that government climate scientists be “in bed” with green groups like the WWF putting pressure on government to enact green policies.

The disclosures reveal several instances of government funded scientists working with environmental pressure groups. In one case, Greenpeace activists are seen helping CRU scientists to draft a letter to the Times and in another working closely with the World Wildlife Fund to put pressure on governments regarding climate change.

Industry groups and the general public are slowing realizing that carbon taxes are going to cost a truckload of money for little benefit.

Isn’t it time that industry groups stepped up to the place and started funding research into questions that are still controversial, such as the magnitude of solar effects on global temperature, and could mitigate green hysteria?

Day 2: NZ Climate Science Coalition vs. NIWA

Quote of the day from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research:

The matters [at issue] arise between the plaintiff’s (the Coalition’s) Statement of Claim (SOC) and the Defendant’s (NIWA’s) Statement of Defence (SOD). NIWA counter-claimed they had no obligation to pursue excellence or to use best-quality scientific practices and also that the national temperature record was not only not official, but they themselves had no obligation to produce or maintain it.

Benefits of Global Warming

A new WSJ article signed by 16 scientists:

A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.

Further comment on Econlog, discussing an article here.

I hope the reader will agree with me that Nordhaus is certainly inviting the reader to infer that now and in the future, the best available studies (as summarized by leading scholar Richard Tol) show that emissions of GHG will cause net damages.

The issue is whether most studies support the view that there will be a net benefit from CO2 emissions for at least 30 to 50 years, while net costs only occurr after an increase in global temperatures from 1.2 to 2 degrees C.

Peer review doesn’t stop 172 fake papers

Its reported that a new record has been set by a Japanese anesthesiologist for most retractions by a single author.

An investigation of 212 of Yoshitaka Fujii’s 249 published papers found that he had invented patients, forged evidence that medication was administered, and signed on as co-authors other scientists who had no idea they were affiliated with his research.

There are a couple of simple solutions to this. First, archive all the data and code and expect reviewers to go through it. This almost never happens at present. Second, archive without peer review, using sites such as viXra. Without peer review there would be no fraud. The merit of papers would be determined in the literature and other outlets such as blogs. Here, like most scientific papers, they simply would have languished in obscurity.

Fortunately, nothing he published was regarded as very important, which is how his vault of fabricated material went undetected for decades. Popular Science offers some of his compelling titles, including “Antiemetic efficacy of low-dose midazolam in patients undergoing thyroidectomy,” and “Low-dose propofol to prevent nausea and vomiting after laparoscopic surgery.”