Not a year ago, I was avowedly skeptical about whether global warming was a real phenomenon at all, much less whether it was anthropogenic. I'm no longer skeptical, and I think that most people who still are, have at least been insufficiently reflective. What follows is (what I think is) my very simple argument why.
I am not a climate scientist. I do not have anywhere near the expertise necessary to understand the peer-reviewed work on which the IPCC Assessment Reports are based. I must rely on the judgment of those who do have the necessary expertise. Of those who have that expertise, the consensus accepts that anthropogenic climate change is real. There is no evidence that the members of the consensus are dishonest frauds, publishing fraudulent work and giving the nod to the fraudulent work of others, simply to advance their careers or some ecofascist agenda, nor is it reasonable to think that the members of the consensus are so stupid as to have somehow missed supposedly devastating counterarguments so simple that even a layman can understand them. Hence, it is irrational for me to oppose myself to the consensus, and likewise for anyone who shares my lack of expertise. This is simple respect for science.
Let me be clear. My analysis does not extend to true experts who disagree with the consensus. I do not begrudge them their conclusions. If they truly have expertise in climate science, they are entitled to their conclusions, for all I can say. But, my non-expert friends and I are nowhere near being in a position to adjudicate that dispute. It is well to say, "I know an honest, intelligent expert who rejects anthropogenic climate change." But, what personal expertise grounds our judgment that this one expert is so much more honest and intelligent than all of the experts in the consensus put together? It is incumbent upon the expert skeptics to convince the remainder of the scientific community, to transform the consensus from within, the way it is done in science. For the rest of us, there is no rational choice but to track the consensus.
I'm really interested in comments, particularly from those who disagree.