First things first.
This is an excellent book on how money works
The Oil/Climate change thing is a whole big argument, but my own opinion on it is that you can either leave the issue well alone until the market for utility of a non-f***ed world makes it worth while for people to pay for the world to NOT get any more damaged or you manipulate the relevant markets to encourage substitution. As you can imagine the greenies are not a huge fan of the former, using the argument that by then it's all too late and any environmental damage done will be irreversible.
The problem with the latter is that the total cost to the economy of encouraging substitution is usually higher than the total cost of leaving things alone assuming that the full cost of environmental damage continues not to be paid for under the status quo (which it generally isnt. See "polluter pays" principals of economics and the fact that they often dont). Increasing the total costs to the economy has the effect of sending it backwards (tax receipts fall, the wealth of the nation and individuals in it also falls). It will take real bravery to make economies take on the full burden of an environmentally conscious structure.
This is where the guilt trip approach comes in, but its all a bit prisoners dilemma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoners_dilemma) and so there's no individual incentive to wear the hairshirt.
On the money thing, the book is good at answering that. But as simply as possible think of money being the mechanism of liquidity - translating objects, services, utility, desire...anything, into a transferable concept. Money allows people to compare value and worth, to bargain for finite supplies of goods and utility, to give and receive, and to trade all of this with anyone else that they want to.(^)
What some people object to (particularly Muslims* for example or indeed anti-bankers) is the making of money from money. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usury)
To reject "usury" though is to reject one of the key elements of liquidity. Liquidity is vital, in that it is the mechanism of redistribution of wealth by commercial process (capitalism) rather than the state (socialism)...and that takes us into a whole other thread...
(^) gold is still the base derivative of all global money since it is the one physical manifestation which is consistent and ubiquitous yet sufficiently scarce and so easier to settle accounts with.
* that's a bit unfair, as Islamic banks have worked on ways of allowing for "loans" but doing it by sleight of hand so that it is not contrary to their religious guidance. As a matter of fact Im off to do some work in Tripoli soon...and I assure you my field of work is very usurious