Following on from this post about recent Parliamentary answers on the subject of the Met Office winter forecast for 2010-11, the very next day saw the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) at it again:
Nuance is one thing. But constructing answers that distort the forecast advice from the Met Office is something else altogether. To say the information being shared in the answer by Gregory Barker on behalf of DECC is selective is an understatement. The Parliamentary written answer supplied to Peter Lilley on 10th February deliberately excludes information the Met Office included in the forecast and thus distorts the context.
Let us just remind ourselves of the advice from the Cabinet Office to the rest of Whitehall, approved by the Met Office. Note the elements of the forecast that have been omitted by DECC:
This is a disgraceful manipulation of the information, for which the only possible purpose is to protect the Met Office from scrutiny for the fundamental failings in its seasonal forecasting. The Met Office did not forecast an extremely cold early winter. While saying there was a 70% chance of an average or colder winter, it caveated this by saying there was a 60% chance of an average or warmer winter.
The summary clearly states there was ‘a slightly increased risk for a cold and wintry start to the winter season’ – something DECC refuses to concede in its answers to MPs. When a department is allowed to get away with deception of this type it is undermining the parliamentary process and perpetrating a fraud against the public. It is outrageous.