I believe that in matters requiring a high degree of knowledge and specialization, it’s not only proper, but essential and desirable — think: division of labor — to defer to the work and conclusions of experts.
This is why advocating and stressing the integrity of the scientific process, to include peer review, is so essential. In a real sense, we are at their mercy, just as you are at the mercy of a whole chain of engineering science performed by those qualified (not to mention the flight crew) every time you step on a plane. Ought the design of an airliner conform to physical aeronautical, metallurgical, and chemical principles, or ought it conform to the political and social views of the day?
I have never once in my life suspected that very much of what passes for environmental science is being conducted honestly. What’s more, consensus is being claimed that simply does not exist, as a matter-of-fact that is undeniable by any honest person. Whoever claims that the debate is over, the results are in, and that consensus exists but for a small band of fringe kooks is simply lying, and ought never be regarded seriously in matters of science for evermore.
You, who think you know about the issue of global warming, don’t. You are not qualified to know, one way or the other, and a few college courses doesn’t cut it. That doesn’t even rise to the level of apprentice. You first need to be honest with yourself and others about that, and frame your comments and views accordingly. What you can know is the reputation and qualification of scientists in the field; not "environmental lawyers" — scientists. The other thing you can know, if you really care to find out — i.e., you are honest, instead of dishonest — is the consensus among qualified, experienced scientists in the field with good reputations.
And the consensus simply does not exist. Moreover, for every tainted researcher held up as being in the pay of the oil companies, there are a dozen in the pay of Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and countless other organizations that tend to fist establish a political agenda (and the legal strategy to generate billions in attorney fees, don’t forget), then go manufacture "science" that can be twisted out of all shape to support it.
Here’s a suggestion: ignore both. See what those without any obvious ties to either side of the political or economic lobby are saying — if you can still find any. Here’s another suggestion, directed at scientists: when hard scientific data (fact) becomes politically and socially controversial, get far, far away for the sake of self and species preservation.
There’s one entity not yet listed on the endangered species list, but probably ought to be: objective and honest scientists.
Update: Warren Meyer always has very good and comprehensive posts on the global warming issue. Also, see here.