The obvious explanation for Obama and the part of the capitalist class he represents is — they don’t really think global warming will happen. Or if it happens, it won’t be bad. Or it will happen after they die, and their children don’t matter.
The last actually sounds the most likely to me.
But I do have another explanation: they think it will happen and be bad, but they will survive. My current idea is, they will retreat into armored enclaves, guarded by private armies, and live comfortably while most of the rest of us die.
Imagine arcologies in the far north or far south, full of the rich and their servants: doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, plumbers, hair stylists, gourmet chefs… Around these settlements are military emplacements…
Now, the questions I have are the following: could these enclaves survive in the absence of a world-wide industrial civilization? Could they produce their own capital equipment and consumer goods? Could they do their own maintenance and repair?
Second, in the absence of national governments — which would vanish in the collapse of human civilization, how could the rich maintain power? Why wouldn’t their security forces simply turn on them?
Forests would be gone, except for what the archologies grew. The oceans would be mostly dead. There might be some agriculture left outside, but it would likely be subsistence, carried on by the few people who survived. If the rich needed metal they would have to send out armed expeditions to mine. Plastic would require petroleum. Maybe they could get bacteria to make it… If not, they would have to try drilling for it in depleted fields, while dust storms whirled around.
Law and government, if they existed, would exist only within the arcologies. Outside, there would be places like Somalia and Afghanistan, if that much remained.
Capitalism has survived and grown by exploiting natural resources and with the help of governments that protected and encouraged it. Could it continue to exist as isolated settlements?
Footnote on the Above
Life in the armored enclaves would be very different from the life of the rich now: no trips to Paris and fabulous vacation spots, no shopping on Fifth Avenue, no opening nights at the Metropolitan Opera or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At best, you would have the life of Prince Esterhazy, who built a palace — a kind of minor Versailles — in a swamp in Hungary and had his own orchestra, directed by Haydn. Very nice, but you can never get away to Vienna.
It would be like living in an upscale version of the movie Logan’s Run.