Affidavit AWFWY wrongRichard Treadgold | September 12, 2012
In November 2009, about a week before the international climate change conference in Copenhagen, the CCG and the NZCSC (the Coalition) released a paper we’d been working on for some time — “Are we feeling warmer yet?” (AWFWY).
On pages 13 and 14 of his affidavit to the High Court, Dr Wratt devotes six paragraphs to our paper and contrives to misrepresent it – obviously trying to give it a bad name. First, he correctly quotes a sentence from the paper:
There are no reasons for any large corrections.
Then he observes:
“NZCSC members… appear to ignore the fact that good scientific practice requires adjustment for site changes before temperature series are analysed for long-term changes.”
Thus he establishes two things:
1. The paper finds no reasons to make large corrections, but it should.
2. The paper makes no corrections, but it should.
Fairly straightforward and not hard to understand. Except that:
- Point 1 is far from the truth. It’s a fabrication, because the paper makes it clear that we found no reasons IN NIWA’s OWN METADATA to make corrections. Sorry, David, but in trying to make us look bad you were misleading the judge.
- Point 2 misses the whole point of our paper, which was to show that NIWA made corrections but didn’t tell anyone. NIWA and its supporters have ignored this point for three years.
- To perform this deception under the nose of an astute High Court judge, NIWA got pretty crafty.
The paper makes it crystal clear that there were no reasons IN THE STATION HISTORIES to make large corrections (though there are now – they’ve corrected their omission). Again, on page 3:
What did we find? First, the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections.
When people don’t mention the station histories, they fabricate the wrong meaning to the “there are no reasons” statement, which has been quoted just like that for three years by people desperate to twist our meaning and avoid confronting the issues the paper raises. It seems that David Wratt was tempted to do the same, though the stratagem is easily rumbled.
I find it incredible, but these Queen’s Counsels and NIWA scientists have been caught out attempting to deceive a High Court judge. But Judge Venning must have concurrently failed to check our paper. If he had, he would surely have seen Dr Wratt’s selective quotation.
But what “craftiness” came into it? Well, incredibly, Dr Wratt managed to avoid selectively quoting from our paper himself by quoting instead one of the Coalition’s own scientists casting doubt on it. But only because the scientist concerned was ambushed by the same selective quotation.
In an apparently benign email interrogation in December 2009 by Ken Perrott, Dr Vincent Gray said he should have questioned the statement There are no reasons for any large corrections. Having reviewed the paper just once, Dr Gray was not totally familiar with it, but, tellingly, in asking him, Perrott slyly quoted the “there are no reasons” statement without mentioning our vital reference to the station histories.
We should hardly be surprised that Dr Gray disapproved of the statement as it was given to him, nor that he might have trusted Perrott, for why would he not quote the paper correctly? In fact, Dr Gray was fearlessly honest in “admitting” to what he saw as a lapse in judgement. His memory might have let him down, but it was Perrott with the lapse in judgement.
The upshot was that NIWA could now put to the judge an adverse impression of our paper by quoting our own words. Brilliant. Unethical, even vile, but displays a wicked brilliance.
They can hold their hand on their heart and profess no wrongdoing. But the affidavit leaves out Perrott’s deception in withholding from Dr Gray the essential mention of station histories to give him a deliberately false picture of the paper’s drift. No wonder he expressed doubt about it. He had been presented with a lie.
And Dr Wratt and his legal team, if they have read our AWFWY paper (and how could they deny that, since they cite it in evidence), are themselves fully conversant with the contents and so they know beyond a shadow of doubt that we were commenting on the metadata on NIWA’s web site, not making a general observation about the temperature readings.
In hindsight I’ll readily admit to faulty writing. It should have said “There were no reasons in the station histories for any large corrections,” then the sentence couldn’t have been quoted to so drastically change our meaning — in my innocence I never thought the paper would be cited anywhere. But in reality, it was presented to our Parliament the next day, and within about four days it was presented to the European Parliament. It has been a thorn in NIWA’s flesh ever since and helped push them to reconstruct the national temperature record. Now it’s cited in a court case…
I’ll keep perusing the legal documents. There’s no telling what more they will reveal.
Affidavits are for ever.