In response to recent academic arguments that climate change is exacerbated by unsustainable population increases, Pope Francis has asserted that climate change is not fueled by population growth, but by unfettered consumerism. The citizens of wealthy nations consume greater resources and live at levels unattainable by most others in the world. Arguments by wealthy Westerners suggesting people should limit the number of children they have in order to live ethically and environmentally miss the point, the Pope would argue.
“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si, No. 50 (2015)
Read more in this Crux article.