Because most of us aren’t trained as oncologists or meteorologists, we tend to do the sensible thing and rely on those folk for facts on cancer, or the weather.
It’s likely too that we’d act on their advice by seeking treatment after a diagnosis or packing an umbrella (or, if you’re in dangerously hot Australia right now, have a plan to stay cool).
The same goes for climate science. At least six studies have shown that climate scientists agree that burning fossil fuels causes climate change.
What should follow, of course, is that policy makers (and the rest of us) act on their advice.
This is why climate science deniers and fossil fuel interests have tried so hard, and for so long, to convince the public that the consensus isn’t real.
When researchers a few years ago looked at more than 200 opinion articles by conservative columnists, they found that their most popular argument against climate action was that there was no consensus.
The latest attempt to undermine the consensus came from the hand of mining industry figure and geologist Ian Plimer in the pages of the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Australian newspaper. The clear errors in the article should embarass any editor who printed it.