The Commons committee seemed unable even to understand the evidence
To anyone who watched or read the hearings of the Commons committee looking into "Climategate", the scandal over leaked documents from the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, two things might have been obvious. The first was that all but one of the MPs (Labour's Graham Stringer) were hopelessly out of their depth in their efforts to understand this not very complex story. The other was that their chief purpose was to find that the CRU and its director, Professor Philip Jones, had done nothing wrong and that the case for man-made global warming remained intact.
Both points were amply confirmed by the slipshod report rushed out by the MPs last week (which only Mr Stringer opposed). One cannot say the MPs deliberately missed the points raised by the Climategate scandal, because they so clearly didn't grasp what these were in the first place. For instance, they justified Jones's famous "hide the decline" email, by claiming that he had deleted data because it was "erroneous" – when the whole point was that he hid the data, not because it was wrong, but because it didn't fit in with the case he and his colleagues wanted to put across.
Arguably the most interesting revelation from this non-inquiry was the admission by Professor Julia Slingo of the Met Office that it uses the same computer models for short-term weather forecasting as it does to predict climate 100 years ahead. Three years running these models have come so unstuck with their predictions of "barbecue summers" and "milder than average winters" that the Met Office has now abandoned its seasonal forecasts. Had the MPs asked her why, therefore, the models' long-term forecasts should be regarded as any more reliable, they might have shown a spark of intelligence. As it is, when it comes to official inquiries into Climategate, we are now one pointless whitewash down with two more to come.