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So we think that experts should have much greater standing on these questions than non-experts. And we think that a consensus of experts is particularly good evidence for a claim. Famously, there is a near consensus among (relevant) experts about climate. The exact numbers have altered from study to study, but there is a consensus on the consensus: about 97% of climate scientists agree that the world is warming and that our emissions are largely to blame.

In response, climate sceptics sometimes argue there is no consensus, citing, for instance, an infamous petition allegedly signed by thousands of scientists rejecting the claims of man-made global warming. Even if the signatories to the petition are all genuine, and all have credentials in science (both claims are hard to verify), few have expertise in climate science: so the petition is entirely consistent with the 97% consensus claim.

The other favourite response from sceptics is to claim that the consensus reflects not a disinterested search for truth, but the influence of money. Climate scientists dare not dissent, because if they do, they will not receive funding from the granting agencies.

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Image: By Editor at Large – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1794572

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