What’s the real smoking gun among the emails allegedly “hacked” from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit? We’ll get to that in a moment, but let’s first address the alarmists’ first line of defense — that the emails were stolen, and more than likely by some dastardly skeptic.

Since news of embarrassing, if not incriminating emails broke last Friday, it has become clear that the CRU computer system was not “hacked” and the emails were not stolen. In fact, the file containing the emails had been assembled by CRU staff in preparation for compliance with a Freedom of Information request. The file was then stored in a publicly accessible portion of the CRU computer network — making it just a matter of time before someone discovered it. Why the file was so stored may never be known, but that’s not really what’s important.

Nothing illegal or unethical was done to affect the file’s release.

Moving on.

Much has been written already about the now infamous “trick” to explain away recent global cooling, and the alarmists’ conspiratorial machinations to silence their critics. But the real “mushroom cloud” among the emails comes from Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports on global warming.

In an October 14 email to fellow alarmist Tom Wigley, Trenberth plaintively writes:

How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!

It’s a Perry Mason moment.

First, by admitting that we “are nowhere close” to understanding atmospheric energy flows, the much-vaunted Trenberth has trashed all the climate models on which the gloom-and-doom IPCC forecasts are based. If energy flows in the climate system cannot be accounted for, then they cannot be modeled — and there can be no basis upon which to make predictions of future temperatures.

That’s case closed, right there. But there’s more.