Another example came when 11,000 scientists signed a statement demanding that the world’s governments enact “bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies” to limit the global population and, hence, its carbon footprint. “Our goals need to shift from GDP growth and the pursuit of affluence toward … reducing inequality, ”the document said. Discerning thinkers might question the notion that the survival of the human race demands that it stop reproducing itself. They would realize that economic growth allows citizens to focus on long-term goals, such as environmental protection, and gives them the resources to weather the literal storm that may follow unforeseen outcomes or incomplete climate mitigation.
Reality has also asserted itself on the technology the Obama administration called the best system of emission reduction: carbon capture. Carbon capture is to greenhouse gas emissions what the Strategic Defense Initiative was to a nuclear attack. Both identify, disarm, and neutralize the threat. Carbon capture technology pulls carbon out of the air, then sequesters it deep beneath the earth, removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere entirely. “One of our plants does the work of 40 million trees, ”boasted Steve Oldham, a CEO in the industry.
Unfortunately, the technology is too expensive for mass development. But two facilities have made the process financially viable by using their carbon reserves in enhanced oil recovery. Petra Nova in Texas and Boundary Dam 3 in Saskatchewan inject the captured carbon into oil reservoirs to extract additional fuel, providing more abundant resources while reducing their carbon footprint.
Apart from this use, its cost has proven prohibitive. “Finding new commercial uses for the captured CO2 is key to lowering the costs of these technologies and scaling them up, ”according to Columbia University’s Earth Institute. If the government experts’ solution is to save the planet, it will only do so thanks to the force many of them say is destroying the environment: the profit motive.
This insight would seem less counterintuitive if the climate debate put the human person, and his purpose, at its center. The Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes states, “When man develops the earth by the work of his hands or with the aid of technology, in order that it might bear fruit and become a dwelling worthy of the whole human family … he carries out the design of God manifested at the beginning of time, that he should subdue the earth, perfect creation, and develop himself. At the same time, he obeys the commandment of Christ that he place himself at the service of his brethren.”
Markets and free exchange create a remunerative system of mutual service. This dogmatic Catholic document confirms that service stems from divine love. And the Christian worldview teaches that true love must be free from fear.
Two thousand years ago, the angels announced the birth of the Savior by proclaiming, “Peace on earth.” Two millennia later, that remains Christians’ most valuable asset.