CLIMATE-WARMING/How many investigations of climate scientists’ stolen e-mails does the world really need?

The answer, in Washington at least, appears to be five. And counting.

These are not investigations into who might have stolen the e-mails — that’s still publicly unknown. They’re investigating whether the scientists themselves manipulated data to bolster the case for human-caused climate change or tried to keep dissenting researchers from publishing their findings.

Four investigations said the scientists did nothing improper. Now a fifth one, requested by vocal climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe, has said basically the same thing. Inhofe says at least one issue mentioned in the latest report “deserves further investigation.”

Inhofe asked the Commerce Department’s inspector general to review e-mails from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration related to the e-mails that were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain.

On Thursday, Inhofe released the results. NOAA hailed them as an exoneration of its scientists, saying in a statement that the inspector general “found no evidence of impropriety or reason to doubt NOAA’s handling of its climate data.”