The 2015 November issue of National Geographic is The Climate Issue.
This issue focused on the dire consequences of global warming if the human being as a whole let things go on as they are now. It declares that the main cause of global warming is the emission of CO2 from fossil fuel. So the primary effort is to reduce and eliminate usage of fossil fuel."
NASA and many climate focused organizations have similar explanations. I joined the chorus in 2009, stating "So despite carbon dioxide being a second order factor in climate change, it will perturb the natural path of climate change significantly in 100 to 1000 years, negligible in astronomical time, but tremendous for human time. We need to reduce CO2 emission to minimize the global warming and thus prevent catastrophic climate to human."
I thought about global warming more since reading 2015 National Geographic issue on global warming. I concluded that CO2 emission is the phenomenon that cause global warming, not the human factor root cause.
What are the root causes?
First let us look back at earth's natural history.
Life began on earth about 3.8 billion years ago (BBC Nature). Since life started on earth, earth temperature has had big swing - e.g. the come and go of ice age long before human existed, the earth was very hot during the era of dinosaur ( 230 Millions years to 65 Million years ago)- long before there was any human, note that our species Homo Sapience started to evolve 0.2 Million years ago.
So there are natural causes for global cooling and warming, as confirmed and accepted by scientific communities.
Let us look at human factors.
Fossil fuels are the cause for CO2 emission and planet green house effect. Keep it in the ground has become a new rallying cry for environmentalists for keep the earth from warming up. What keep the exploration and extraction of oil/coal going? What is the cause of ever increasing use of these CO2 producing energy?
The human factor root cause of global warming is over consumption! Burning oil/gas or coal is a consequence of material consumption and over consumption.
One third of green house emission comes from agriculture (Nature).
Waste of food is a big problem - Americans alone threw away 35 Million tons of food a year. In addition there is huge amount of food consumed but wasted any way - because people eat more than they physically need! They become obese, they then consume more medicine, they need surgery, they need exercise equipment .... to try lose weight. This needs a lot of energy and natural resources.
Waste from electronics and other durable goods also contributed the unnecessary needs of energy.
Cell phones, computers .... they are thrown away or placed in attic when they are still perfectly functional after several years. Even if one wants to continue to use "old" cell phones and computers they might not be able to because they were "obsolete". Watches - easily have 10 to 20 year life - people through it away in a couple years .....
Waste in human resource is yet another huge source of unnecessary needs of energy. We develop robots to let them do things human can not do, or too dangerous to do. Now we build robots to do things human can do - a tremendous waste of human resources. The same can be said about artificial intelligence, which will lead to the waste of human minds, and potentially mental retardation of human species. The goal of human's work is to make life easier and better. Autonomous machines artificial intelligence among others do things human does, lead to the questions of existential needs and survival of our species !!
Global warming has two root causes - the cycle of our planet's motion and human materials over consumption way beyond basic needs.
Wait a second, is human over consumption a real root cause for global warming and depletion of natural resources? Is it our idea of what constitute a good living the root cause? The society's collective definition of what good life is, leads to insatiable desire for growth in every aspect of the society - the growth is based on what we want, not what we need.