A general agreement in the scientific community regarding a particular issue.
Scientific consensus is not the same as complete agreement on the subject, as some scientists can still disagree with the majority.
When possible, a scientific consensus is created through a process of sharing research results in scientific articles and presentations at conferences.
Consensus may shift if new research contradicts the existing consensus. Scientific consensus is usually supported by extensive research, and new ideas will have to undergo similar extensive research before replacing the old consensus.
Scientific consensus is not a valid scientific argument in itself, but it is a useful tool for policymakers when deciding on the appropriate course of action.
According to the IPCC the current scientific consensus on climate change is that there is warming, and that most of this is caused by human activities. At least the warming that has occurred within the last 50 years.
Critics claim that this consensus is more an indicator of current political agendas, than actual scientific consensus on global warming.
Climate change is a complex issue. Critics argue that although there may be scientific consensus regarding increased greenhouse gas emission by humans, its effect on global warming and on, sea level, drought, biodiversity etc. is still being debated.