For your reading pleasure: The Economisthas published the best short summary of climate science I’ve run across in ages, touching on everything from thermodynamics to the psychology of climate change skepticism.
This description of how climate scientists differ from climate skeptics in how they think about science struck me as particularly insightful:
You might say that some see a jigsaw where others see a house of cards. Jigsaw types have in mind an overall picture and are open to bits being taken out, moved around or abandoned should they not fit. Those who see houses of cards think that if any piece is removed, the whole lot falls down. When it comes to climate, academic scientists are jigsaw types, dissenters from their view house-of-cards-ists.
This “house-of-card-ism” may be why some folks seem to think that a snowstorm or a localized “cold snap” is actually compelling evidence against a planet-warming trend—even if a more systematic and impersonal look at global temperatures shows clear evidence of warming.