People are easily led to believe what they wish to believe. Conversely, they are mistrustful, and look for ulterior motives when someone tries to convince them of something new and fantastic. Climate change, (by humans) is new. Although it has been predicted for decades, evidence has slowly mounted and accumulated to a state where now it is both scientifically proven, but also, politically correct.
It is this second part of the problem that makes so many wary. Political agenda often undermine even the greatest issues of the planet. People are wondering why the threat is everywhere, and concerns every thing familiar to them. People have come to believe, especially in the United States, that their ways of life, meaning primarily consumption under capitalism is being threatened. They also note, that everything they do is now being more carefully scrutinized. What people drive, how much they eat, how much they buy, everything they throw out, what kind of materials are involved, and even more than this, is being scrutinized. Science has good reasons for this, but it comes across as being a kind of blaming which, automatic defense mechanisms are wired to resist.
All told then, people are confused and wary. They are now certain after Hurricane Sandy, record heat waves, floods, storms, fires and more that something is going on, but fingers begin to point in every direction. There is a reason why the truth is called inconvenient. But on the other hand, what would be even more inconvenient would be if people had no power, no control at all. Suns storms, or a meteor, or even another geologic warming event could all be blamed. But science does not support these when it comes to the impact humans being make, sheerly with their numbers and consumption patterns.
Meanwhile giant companies exist to make profit. They make their living off a dying planet. They will privatize profits and externalize (make you pay) the costs to health, environment, disposal, and so on.
There are also other reasons that people are mistrustful. This is for the most straightforward reason of all. They are told to be. Powerful lobbies with billions of dollars at stake are campaigning heavily, not just against climate change supporters, but also to win the confidence and trust of entire global populations. This is especially insidious, because while all their ads are about a "cleaner" planet, all their money making actions are about preserving dirty fuel until the last lump of coal, and last drop of oil. These are by far, some of the most profitable industries on earth, and they have very deep pockets. They can afford to tout "algae, and education" while they pour enormous sums into trying to drill more, and blast off more landscape.
People with a stake in clean air, clean water, clean fuel and a protected planet need to do their homework. They must be vigilant and always follow the money trail. They should not ever trust those with the highest stake to be objective. Unfortunately, many believe that scientists and spokespersons, (like Al Gore) benefit from global warming or climate change hype.
Although, is some small way, they may, this is a red hot herring. This is not even close to comparable to the many billions that energy, oil and coal companies make. It is further exacerbated by people being told they will lose jobs. In an economy like this, there are many who feel very threatened already and they are going to be very suspicious when someone make the fear mongering threat of job loss.
That a planet is being lost, seems to fall by the weigh side. And this is too bad, because it is a very lovely planet. It is also the only home that humans have ever known. When people realize they do have real power to impact having a better earth, they will need to act very fast.
They will need to realize their ability, innovation power, resilience and determination to clean up consumption, even if it means we create a much nicer, cleaner, greener world in the process. This is not the intent, although it is a most wonderful outcome.