He started off on a quest to debunk Julian Simon, then tried to prioritize the world’s environmental issues, and concluded it was all about quality of life.
No, I am not writing about German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, but rather the skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg.
Lomborg’s conclusions are similar to the conclusion from Yale University’s latest Environmental Sustainability Index which determined that countries with a strong economy, and communities that enjoy a high quality of life, generally have a stronger environmental stewardship ethic and look after their environment better.
Good governance and low population density are also apparently significant determinants of environmental performance.
So the new Pope Benedict XVI and his views on contraception will matter to the environment.
Access to effective birth control potentially puts women in control of their lives, generally improves their health, reduces infant mortality and improves the standard of living of their families and communities. This all also contributes to a lower birth rate that potentially means a lower population density. In short empowering women is good for the environment.
But I wonder if any of the men in the Sistine Chapel pondered any of these issues as they voted for the new Pope.