I think a large part of the problem is that, on a gut level, none of this sounds serious. The earth will warm by a couple of degrees? So what, the difference between the day and night temperatures can be more than that, let alone the difference between Siberia and Death Valley. Sea levels will rise by a foot? I grew up in a port, they do that twice a day, big whoop. Etc.
I'm not claiming none of these actually aren't important - obviously there is variation in the world and a change in the average is a different matter to the average being different in different places. Of course it is.
All I mean is that, well... Ebb raises the point about seeing a mechanic when your car is broken. Fair enough. I don't own a car but my hot water boiler did go down recently and I called out a repairman. He tried to tell me what was wrong with it, I said "look, here's some money, make my boiler work. All of this time you're talking to me about pumps is time you could be fixing my boiler." It's a matter of scale. To him, the problem was my pump was doing something weird, to me the problem was that my boiler didn't work. When my computer goes down, to the repair guy my motherboard might have overheated, to me the laptop doesn't switch on. To a climate change scientist the problem is sea acidification or whatever. TO me the problem is...what precisely? I can't internalise or conceptualise what a rise in global temperatures means. Hell, there's no massive consensus from specialists on precisely what the ramifications would be, as I understand it.
So I think a large part isn't "denial" per se, more a simple lack of this being/feeling important.
But then, green taxes come in. Governments take other initiatives. Leaving aside the efficacy of those measures, that's something that does have a personal resonance. My hypothetical petrol bill has just gone up. Well, now whats happened is that something that has no tangible effect on my life is costing me money, fuck that noise. If there is any sort of a debate, even if it is a manufactured one, there will be a percentage of people who will take the side of the debate that is "I don't want to make these short term sacrifices"