While carbon emissions ARE an issue, they are not the ONLY issue involved with climate change. Loss of biodiversity due to deforestation, urban and suburban sprawl, and pollution is a major warning sign. The resources and runoff associated with building and maintaining major road systems have a negative impact on not only local vegetation and wildlife health, but also on human health (ex: asthma rates among children living next to highways are higher than among children living elsewhere). The negative externalities related are usually not passed on to the consumer, and when they are (as seen with this buzzfeed article) people get angry. While my main area of study relates to urban environmental justice, I’ve taken enough economics to know that when negative externalities are not factored into the price of a good, it can lead to over-consumption of that good. You are correct that one needs only to follow the trail of money to find out true motives. However, environmentalists aren’t really making a whole lot of money out of this. In fact, many in the field have left other more lucrative careers to work on something they feel passionate about. You can point to Al Gore as your poster child of profiting from this, but he’s only one man and is not responsible for the environmental justice movement. Yes, some companies are capitalizing on the “green” trend, but most of those aren’t truly “green”. (i.e. bottled water companies advertising new “eco-friendly” bottles, now with 10% less plastic!) Corporations involved with the production of fossil fuels would much rather if restrictions from the EPA were lifted in order to lower costs, increase production and sell more. When oil prices rise, people consume less oil. (see: Europe) Oil profits have been high due to the amount of lobbying and campaign funding they’ve been involved with. If corporations (and consumers) were made to pay for the negative externalities associated with the industry, then prices would be much, much higher. Companies profit more by ignoring environmental concerns. Energy is an obvious example. Pharmaceutical companies are also a major player. We know that the chemicals in birth control being flushed down the toilet are affecting fish populations downstream. We don’t know what other medications are doing. We don’t know yet how to filter those chemicals out of our drinking water and how that could be affecting human health. Pharmaceutical companies also profit off of sick people. The more overweight and diabetic people there are, the higher sales for blood pressure medication and insulin will be. When more people get cancer from the chemicals in our air, food and water, chemotherapy becomes more profitably. Asthma rates higher in inner cities? More inhaler sales. This issue is much bigger than whether or not carbon emissions are the sole factor responsible for climate change. Humans have been changing the climate for thousands of years via agriculture, humans have been killing off other species for thousands of year. The problem now is that the rate at which we are changing and destroying ecosystems is so accelerated that we are nearing a global tipping point. Third world countries are already facing the consequences in the form of water shortages, famines and flooding. We are relatively isolated in the west, but not for long if we keep up at the rate we are going.