An independent British investigation into the "Climategate" scandal has cleared the scientists behind the controversial emails, says Bryan Walsh at Time. Muir Russell, a senior British civil servant who lead the inquiry, concluded that the researchers involved "could have been more open" with global warming skeptics, but there was "no evidence of fraud" — which is to say, the scientists didn't manipulate the data showing that the planet really is warming. In a perfect world, that would put the matter to rest. But don't expect the skeptics to "lay down their arms," because this controversy is more about politics than it is about science. Here, an excerpt:
"Our positions [on global warming] seem set, and have as much to do with emotion and ideology as anything else. It's inescapable that nearly all the plans to reduce carbon emissions involve either a new tax or stronger government regulations of the private industry through a carbon cap and efficiency standards — so it's not exactly surprising that Republicans would be more skeptical of climate change, and Democrats more accepting. ...
So what's the answer? Well, at the very least climate scientists need to be more upfront with the public about their methods, data and conclusions... And there's hope that the Climategate affair, for all its tawdriness, might actually push researchers in that direction."
Fighting climate change will be the equivalent of a war, one that will last for decades. But we can't get started until we end the civil war amongst us.