Anthropogenic climate change: expert credibility and the scientific consensus

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Any attempt to offer an overview of the climate science literature is bound to be controversial; the best known attempts are no exception. Here, we outline the methods and findings of the most important papers, examine the various criticisms levelled against them, and argue that while the critics raise some important points none of the criticisms damage in any very substantial way the findings these papers report. The majority of those working on climate science accept the proposition that anthropogenic climate change (ACC) explains most of the recent rise in global temperatures; even sceptics accept that the scientific consensus is against them. The real debate is about: how wide the consensus is – some of those keen to stress the existence of a consensus presenting evidence that it is virtually unanimous, others showing that it falls well short of that; whether the science being done by those who are convinced about the existence of ACC is better or worse than the science being done by those who are unconvinced, the evidence favouring the view that the more widely published and more widely cited climate scientists are more likely to affirm the existence of ACC; and whether the attempt to establish the existence of a consensus represents a valid response to the governments‟ need for policy advice or is little more than an attempt to silence an under-funded minority by obscuring the truth that the science is actually against ACC - or at best uncertain - with talk of a consensus threatening a premature end to what should be an on-going debate.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherGarnaut Review Secretariat
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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