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Christopher Booker: Can We Trust The ‘Climategate’ Inquiry?

There has been a curious by-product of the attempts being made by the University of East Anglia to whitewash last November’s embarrassing leak of documents from its Climatic Research Unit. Since it set up not one but two supposedly “independent” inquiries into the “Climategate” affair, climate sceptics were intrigued but not entirely surprised to find that almost all their members were committed, even fanatical advocates of global warming, and hence unlikely to be over-critical of the CRU’s bizarre record.

Most recently, the sceptics have been particularly intrigued by the background of the man chosen by the university to chair an assessment of the CRU’s scientific record. Lord Oxburgh declared on his appointment that he is linked to major wind-farm and renewable-energy companies. He admitted that he advises Climate Change Capital, which manages funds worth $1.5 billion, hoping to cash in on the “opportunities created by the transition to a low-carbon economy”, in a world market potentially worth – its website boasts – $45 trilllion.

What Lord Oxburgh kept quiet about, however, is that he is also a director and vice-chairman of a strange little private company few of us had heard of known as Globe International. The name stands for “Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment”, and it describes itself as a worldwide network to lobby governments to take more drastic action on climate change. Globe is certainly well-connected, as it showed just before last December’s Copenhagen conference by staging a seminar addressed by, among others, the conference’s chairman Yvo de Boer, as well as Nancy Pelosi and Ed Markey, the leaders of the campaign to push a cap-and trade-scheme – which could make a lot of people fabulously rich – through the US Congress.

The international president of this lobbying organisation turns out to be none other than Stephen Byers MP, now best known for his description of himself on last week’s Dispatches as “like a cab for hire”, happy to take £5,000 a day for using his influence as a lobbyist.

Globe clearly knows how to pick its men. Its UK parliamentary team also includes Elliot Morley MP, Globe’s former president, and David Chaytor MP, both of whom now face criminal charges for fraud in connection with their expenses claims. Considering the record of some of his colleagues, it is perhaps not surprising that Lord Oxburgh was not too keen to declare his interest in this odd little outfit when he was appointed to chair an inquiry as to whether the world can rely on the evidence produced by the CRU to support its advocacy for global warming. But I am sure we can all have every confidence as to which way his inquiry’s conclusions are likely to point.

The Sunday Telegraph, 28 March 2010