But the IPCC hasn't helped much, either. Issuing 3,000-page edicts about climate change isn't exactly the best way to sway public opinion one way or the other. Turning the issue into a sensationalist feud involving accusations of conspiracy, as the "skeptical" crowd has done, works much better.
So lots of people are left with a shallow, "he said, she said" understanding of a terribly deep and important subject. A small hole gets poked in scientists' side of the argument - a great example is the recent revelation that Himalayan glaciers aren't melting nearly as fast as the IPCC said they were - and suddenly the entire body of evidence for human-induced climate change gets put on trial. That doesn't make sense, but it reflects how difficult it is for just about anyone who isn't a climatologist to grasp the intricacies of the science. That goes for reporters, politicians, and Joe Six Pack alike.
It doesn't have to be this opaque. The case for human-caused global warming is incredibly strong. But by having a monolithic scientific body ruling from on high about climate science, we are making it easy for climate "skeptics" to go around making wild claims like "warm temperatures will be better for plants and crops!"