One of the more startling aspects of Andrew Weaver’s libel case was Weaver’s claim that it was defamatory in Canada to say, even in an opinion column, that Weaver had called for Pachauri’s resignation or even a change in leadership at IPCC. It was even more startling that novice judge Emily Burke found in Weaver’s favour on this point. Given the controversies surrounding Pachauri in 2010, one might ask of Weaver: if you didn’t call for Pachauri’s resignation, why didn’t you? The absurdity of Weaver’s libel claim on this point became particularly stark when Pachauri was charged in India with sexual harassment and finally resigned as IPCC chairman.
J Burke’s absurd acceptance of Weaver’s claim arose, in my opinion, from multiple legal errors, which I’ll summarize in the conclusions. To get there, I’ll briefly discuss the background of the Himalaya glacier controversy, which proves to be considerably more complicated than a single factoid error in an enormous report. Although today’s post is long, the material, closely examined, goes in many directions and is voluminous and the post in no way covers all the potential issues.