A CRITICAL report from MPs has accused the BBC of leaving the public confused about climate change.

Members of the Science and Technology Committee also took the Government to task for failing to communicate climate science effectively enough.

As the leading public service broadcaster, the BBC played a "central" role in keeping people well informed, the MPs said. But the corporation "lacked a clear understanding of the information needs of its audience with regards to climate science".

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It appeared to be out of touch with its viewers and listeners, believing they had a good grasp of the issues when evidence suggested the opposite, MPs added.

The report said BBC news teams, including Radio 4's flagship Today programme, made the mistake of giving the same weight to opinions and scientific fact when covering climate science.

Committee chairman Andrew Miller MP said: "Given the high level of trust the public has in its coverage, it is disappointing that the BBC does not ensure all of its programmes and presenters reflect the actual state of climate science in its output.

"Some editors appear to be particularly poor at determining the level of scientific expertise of contributors, putting up lobbyists against top scientists as though their arguments carry equal weight."

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC does its utmost to report on this complex subject as clearly as possible using our specialist journalists.

"While the vast bulk of our interviews are with climate scientists, as part of our commitment to impartiality it is important that dissenting voices are also heard."