The huge problem with anthropological global warming is very complicated. Humans are pumping CO(2) into the environment because the industrialized nations are addicted to oil and the problem of proving the direct connection of global warming to the human impact is very murky at best.
Political power is swayed easily by lobbyists and the oil industry pays for their share of the political power. Our political system was also designed as a weak government so it is unable to really handle the problem of the addiction. Breaking addiction is always a tough thing for any agent addicted to any substance, but this one is especially difficult.
Many people view the situation as inevitable and have given up cause; many view it as fallacious and have stubbornly stuck to their viewpoint. Many people see the convenient way of putting it off until tomorrow or ignoring the situation because it doesn’t necessarily need immediate response because the effects are not immediate, but yet the problem continues to grow. Our planet is getting warmer, we continue to pump CO(2) into the environment and the sun continues to heat it up.
The misnomer that we are inside a greenhouse is false. The CO(2) molecules are heated up when the sun's radiation reflected off the planet excite the molecules which in turn makes them warmer. The warmer the planet gets the more ice that melts, the more that sea levels rise. Everyone that disagrees with the situation is essentially looking for a way to escape the burden that we will have to face. The planet is melting and we are responsible. There is nowhere else to go and we must face the music.
The ice melts faster because water acts as a lubricant flowing down below the ice shelves in Greenland and Antarctica creating a viscous layer that allows the ice to slide faster towards the warmer ocean water. When the ice in Greenland melts into the North Atlantic the ocean salinity will be diluted causing a cease of the ocean current conveyor system that has been in place since the last ice age. This current system keeps Europe abnormally warm for its latitude. When the current is stopped, the warmth will cease to exist there. Moscow, Russia is not affected because its climate is appropriate for its latitude, but consider the fact that Moscow is level with the area just north of Edinburgh, England.
The climate changes are happening such as stronger hurricanes, extreme droughts, wildfire conditions running rampant in the western United States, but no one can directly blame human impact on the climate. People have tried to prove the aspect that we are changing the environment when it is so very apparent to some people. Al Gore pushes his Inconvenient Truth to the masses and wins the Nobel Prize, but then people say it is political because Al Gore is a political figure.
The mental image that electricity comes from a fantasy place that does little or no harm to the environment is rampant through society. People also view the impact of their cars is minimal on the environment. The catalytic converter is a double-edged sword. It helped reduce CO(2) production from cars, but it also made the gas emissions invisible rendering it invisible in everyone's mind. No one can actually see the gas being emitted from their car. They know it occurs, but don't think it is harmful because it is clear and because they don't think it is much. If you ask someone what they think of 18-wheeler diesel truck emissions they might say wow that's really bad for the environment because they see thick black smoke in clouds that hit their cars and go into their A/C where they can smell it. This mental distortion is evident, clear as day to me, and prevalent throughout modern society. People need a visual cue; people need an alarm bell telling them exactly what is happening. If a reporting system was given alongside the electric bill explaining how much CO(2) was expelled for each customer, people might think twice about their usage. People might also think twice about their usage if the same was true with their cars. Instead of worrying about fuel efficiency for economic reasons because gasoline is expensive, they should be worried about their CO(2) output per mile driven. Doesn't that make more sense in a moral standpoint? Whether CO(2) emissions effect global warming or not, it's very clear and evident that the particulate pollution is not healthy for the environment or for people.
I remember a time when it was a joke to buy bottled water. I remember a time when it was a joke to get a ticket for smoking inside a restaurant. I remember a time when it was a fantasy idea in a movie that you would get a ticket for smoking in public places or cussing in public places. I remember a time when canned air was also a comedic situation in a parody of a Hollywood blockbuster. Now we have pricey air purifiers for sale. People buy bottled water by the truck load. Smoking is against the law in many major cities in restaurants and bars. Smoking on my campus quad area is against the law and fresh air is getting harder and harder to find. Look at the haze in any major city and tell me that people are not causing that and try to feel morally good about yourself. Are you kidding me? There is scientific proof that hot spots are caused by mankind's impact in urban areas. Tell me that there isn't a possibility that we are causing this on a global scale and global consequences will arrive one day.
People are myopic about the thickness and volume of our atmosphere. People are myopic about the volume of gas emissions from their vehicles thanks to the catalytic converter which makes the emissions less harmful, but also invisible. People are myopic about the fragility of our climate and world ecosystems. People are myopic about the multiplicity factor of millions of people doing the same wasteful habit. People are myopic about waste. People think waste before efficiency because for them it saves time and money. People are self-centered and don't change their habits necessarily because it would burden them and not help them out immediately at all. People are lazy and choose to sit down before acting because it is easier to do and doesn't have an immediate consequence or consequence at all. People are blind to the effects of doing their bad habits every day and the multiplicity effect. The scale of someone's imagination about the impact of their actions and the multiplicity effect among time and people is way underestimated by everyone. You must really consider the concept of what a million people really look like and the amount of waste that a very small habit contributes when applied to millions of people for thousands of days. Oh yeah, a thousand days sounds like a lot, but guess what that's essentially 3 years. Now that doesn't sound like a lot. It's 798 days until January 1st, 2010. It's July 21st, 2010 that is exactly 1,000 days from now. That seems really far in the future, but that is basically right around the corner. People are myopic. Why is that so much of a concern? Well, the people are you and I and we vote for political leaders who control the government which controls the world. We are the one's responsible for choosing leaders who impact policy. We are responsible for our own actions. We control the key to change by choosing political leaders with environmental concerns at the forefront, choosing consumer goods that are environmentally friendly, choosing habits that are environmentally friendly, and choosing to learn about the details of our actions and choices. Ignoring it for the sake of procrastination or out of convenience to not give any attention to the problems at hand is an immoral decision when the consequences are very morally relevant.