@yyy: Well, they do, with some complications.
Ask a Filipino why the streets are clogged with smoke-belching rustbuckets, and he'll say one of four things: (a) it's an example of how clever we are to make our own transport from rebar and scrap engines, because we don't need to rely on imports from imperialist countries like, um, Korea (b) we're poor, we have no choice (c) "you foreigners always coming here telling us what to do, if you don't like it, go back to your own country", or (d) if he has some self-awareness, he'll point out that the rich make a shitload of money from the gasoline monopoly, and the last thing they want is for the poor to have efficient transport.
You'll get quite similar responses in India, Nigeria, or (to a lesser extent) China.
However, whatever his answer, the question remains: "why do you allow this state of affairs to continue?". Why do you sell your vote for $5 to whoever promises you goodies that you know he can't deliver? Why do you work for companies (foreign or domestic) that hurt your country, like the local timber overlord who cuts down all the trees? Why do you not protest about rules that keep clean technology (ie., choices that the poor can afford) out of the hands of the masses? I'll tell you why, but you won't like it:
1) They believe in trickle-down corruption. This is similar to the western idea that wealth trickles down from the rich to the poor. They vote the scumbags into office again and again because they genuinely think that the scumbags only steal money in order to "help the poor". They co-operate with rich scofflaws for the same reason (and, also, because they're likely to end up floating face-down in the river if they don't).
2) They really do think foreigners - the people who promote efficient, cheap motorcycles or solar panels or modern farming methods - are out to get them. This idea obviously contains a small grain of truth, and it gets hyped up into some huge international conspiracy by those who stand to benefit from xenophobia (broadly speaking, those who sell expensive, inferior equivalents of foreign products).
3) They do actually like pollution. Smoke- and noise-filled cities symbolize civilization and wealth.
Moral choices are never easy. But when it comes down to it, you can choose the wrong (easy) thing or the right (difficult) thing. The poor choose the wrong things. So they stay poor. If they were choosing the right things, then pretty much by definition they wouldn't be poor anymore.
Apart from that, I more-or-less agree with your post.
@jotham: urudacus is right. Unless you know the nature of the underlying process, you can't make simplistic judgements about a trend. Just because you can overlay a linear or polynomial curve-fit doesn't mean that curve-fit has any physical meaning; the process itself must be known to be linear (or whatever), otherwise you've just joined the dots like a kid with a colouring-book.
The climate scientists know that climate processes are non-linear and time-variant, which means any prediction about the future can only be in vague terms. This is the only plausible way of presenting their results: those who accuse them of being "inaccurate" or "dishonest" don't understand what either of those words mean in the context of process modelling.
You are as bound by that limitation as they are. Just as they can't possibly say, see, there's a nice smooth exponential here and therefore there's going to be a nice smooth exponential for all time (Al Gore style), you can't possibly say, look at this flat bit here, it's obviously bottomed out.