In New Zealand, the Court of Appeal has ordered a group of climate change deniers to pay $80,000 in costs over an unsuccessful legal challenge against the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), an environmental science research company. The group brought a lawsuit that claimed NIWA was unethically and intentionally misinterpreting temperature data to promote the idea the climate change is happening. They claimed NIWA’s scientific methodology was flawed.
The court concluded that the group, the New Zealand Climate Education Trust, committed to making light of climate change, has been engaged in what amounts to a crusade against NIWA, and “was not acting reasonably”, Radio New Zealand has reported. The group says it seeks to “reflect the truth about climate change and the exaggerated claims that have been made about anthropogenic global warming”.
The Trust originally brought a suit against NIWA, saying its science was faulty and that it was not acceptable because its scientific findings guided New Zealand’s national policymaking. However, the High Court case was thrown out when it was ruled the group’s argument was “not appropriate for determination by a court of law”. New Zealand High Court Justice Geoffrey Vanning ruled in 2012 that NIWA had “acted in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology”, and that it was “unnecessary for this Court to resolve this scientific debate”.
The High Court ordered the Trust to pay $80,000 in costs. The Trust went to the Court of Appeal to argue for a discount on the basis that they were acting in the public interest. The Trust then withdrew its appeal “following intense questioning from the Court”.