Now, I like Hansen... but this idea of the "world acting on global warming" is a bit naive...
Under capitalism, there is no "world" or "society" -- there are only individuals trying to buy their way into a society of sorts. The more thoroughly vulnerable to the "free market" a society is, the more truth we can ascribe to Margaret Thatcher's famous comment: "There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families." Thus we can see that a society which has erected neoliberalism on its banner grows more and more isolated from its collective potential, and thus less and less capable of acting collectively. So we can flash all of the realities we want at people -- under capitalism, the mechanism of social coordination that will allow them to do something about it will be inadequate to serve up a solution, or anything close.
Under capitalism, then, nothing will be done. From the Monthly Review's gloss on all this:
The truth is that addressing the global warming threat to any appreciable degree would require at the very least a chipping away at the base of the system. The scientific consensus on global warming suggests that what is needed is a 60–80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels in the next few decades in order to avoid catastrophic environmental effects by the end of this century—if not sooner. The threatening nature of such reductions for capitalist economies is apparent in the rather hopeless state at present of the Kyoto Protocol, which required the rich industrial countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008–2012. The United States, which had steadily increased its carbon dioxide emissions since 1990 despite its repeated promises to limit its emissions, pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 on the grounds that it was too costly. Yet, the Kyoto Protocol was never meant to be anything but the first, small, in itself totally inadequate step to curtail emissions. The really big cuts were to follow.Thus the rationale for serious social change. Most likely, however, under capitalism we are to see the top-down approach that has been killing us so far:
For the Pentagon, the answer to all of these dangers would seem to be straightforward: arm to the teeth, prepare for greater threats than ever from thermonuclear war, and build an impregnable wall around the United States, closing the global masses out. All of this is depicted by Schwartz and Randall. Yet a more rational response to potential high-impact climate events would be to seek to reorganize society, and to move away from imperatives of accumulation, exploitation, and degradation of the natural environment—the “after me the deluge” philosophy—that lies at the base of most of our global problems.In short, the state -- that guardian of the capitalist social order -- will intervene to protect the owning class in the name of its political "representatives" (who have long since given up the pretense of representing you and me and have taken to rigging elections instead). Everyone else will be kept busy with the necessity of "making a living," a need which will become more and more urgent as it becomes harder and harder to do.
Am I the only one who wonders why so many people leap to capitalism's defense, proclaiming the society based on "free markets" to eternity?