You can accept the fact or deny it but one thing is for sure our planet is changing. You can looks at melting glaciers and drying up lakes but the shrinking arctic doesn't lie. With 7 billion of us on this rock it shouldn't take a genius to figure out that things will change and fast. Nobody knows the exact tipping point but that should be beside the point. When you see a far off storm you don't just sit there with the windows open thinking it's an illusion.
What to do? The answer is simple and two fold. First is to stop burning fossil fuels or at the very least slow it down as much as possible until alternatives can be found. The other end is to conserve what we are using. It's estimated that we waste on average over 35% of the energy we use in the home. Most of that is heat loss from poor insulation and cracks around windows and doors. Not to sound like an ad from a hardware store but just some inexpensive materials can save a bunch of money in the long run. I found that replacing old leaky windows cut my energy bill in winter by half. Switching to CFL lighting same years back at least kept pace with the price increases. There is the push to LEDs but they're still too expensive at the moment at about the price of a compact bulb when they first came out. There's work to be done on their development. We have some LED street lighting here but it's less than impressive. It's closer to a street night light as it only covers about 20 feet or only two car lengths of illumination.
As to our president I have misgivings about his motivations. On the one hand he wants to promote conservation and renewables while on the other is promoting one of the dirtiest sources of energy the tar sands oil of the XL pipeline. Sorry but you can't have it both ways. And from his lame duck position I see no reason for him to side with oil industry giants.
The tar sands oil is not carbon neutral and here's why: First it must be dug out of the ground almost like strip mining which means that trucks are running 24/7 to get at it for processing. Once processed (which is only for shipment by the way) it is sent via pipeline, rail or truck to be fully processed adding to pollution. Once it reaches it's final destination which is more than likely China it will be burned for home heating oil once again adding to the carbon count. And forgot to mention that in order to process the stuff it must be heated and it's by products burned off into the atmosphere. Shale oil and gas is not much better as it requires many of the same procedures.
Here's the trade offs and what the future holds in case you're around that long. There is a shift to biodegradable products which sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy. For some products that we only use once and throw away that's okay however they are now starting to use this concept in things like auto interiors with seats and dashboards made from partially organic materials. All well and good one might think until you figure you now have a car with a use by date. If you thought cars broke down rapidly now you haven't seen anything yet. It was bad enough they put enough computing power under the hood to get a man to mars, which by the way can be hacked, now the thing will begin to rot after so many years. So what's next, face creams for the ford and conditioners for the continental? And with back talking computers we'll wish it was back to the days of back seat drivers instead of a wise cracking computer whining about needing a facial. Ain't progress grand.