In our day and age, the reality of climate change cannot be doubted: it is experts’ grave concern, the popular politicians’ top priority, the famous film stars’ fashionable cause.

Last month, the leaders of the world gathered in Copenhagen to avert an impending ecological disaster – an effort (so we are told) that may already be too little, too late. Indeed, it is impossible to question the reality of global warming, when concerns about it have reached a fever-pitch: climate change can be seen in our hybrid cars, and contorted lightbulbs, but most of all, it can be seen in the somber expression written on the worried faces of so many.

It would be a terrible mistake, however, to assume that climate change has anything to do with science, human action, or objective reality: it is quite obvious that there is no truth in such claims, and to uncritically accept this narrative would be, literally, to catch a fever. Global warming is an internal phenomenon that is occurring in our culture, not our climate. Thus, the prophets of ecological doom – who one witty critic calls the “Warm mongers” – are totally wrong to claim that man-made climate change is a real phenomenon, observable in nature. However, climate change “deniers” are equally wrong to think that pointing out this fact will solve the problem. Nietzsche once wrote, “There are no facts, only interpretations,” and his words were never truer than in this context: there are no objective, scientific facts about climate change, but the interpretation is real enough.

What we call “climate change” is only the most recent outbreak of a perennial phenomenon which affects all human cultures from time to time. In Sophocles’ tragedy, Oedipus Rex, Thebes is suffering from “pollution”; in the Middle Ages, there would be intermittent outbreaks of real and imagined plagues. Oddly enough, the cure for both of these problems was the same: Thebes is cured by the expulsion of Oedipus, and the numerous Medieval texts claim that the “plague” often abated after a pogrom of local Jews. If modern medicine has made these actions seem outrageous and unacceptable, modern climate science has stepped into the breach, convincing us that “carbon” is the poisonous element – everywhere and nowhere – that chokes our air, and stagnates our water.

Distressingly, the diagnosis of climate scientists is not very different from Sophocles’ oracle or the witch doctor of the Dark Ages: all of the causes of climate change are euphemisms for man. The problem is not the carbon footprint, but the person who leaves it; the problem is not carbon consumption, but the carbon consumer; the problem is not even pollution, but the hidden polluter. The real pollution is always the same thing, and it is always a person.

In a recent National Post column, Diane Frances, argued that the solution to climate change was simple – indeed, it always is: that the West adopt China’s infamous and brutal one-child policy. Of course, implementing the barbaric restrictions of Red China won’t make the first world green. But it will provide the demonic escape valve, required by a culture which has been convinced that the human being does not produce waste, but is itself detritus to be disposed of. Although Frances’ position sounds extreme, she has merely followed the logic of climate change to its ineluctable end: the realization that people are the problem.

But just the opposite is true. Indeed, the human person is the only truly renewable resource in the world because it is the only one that is truly renewed. Man is perpetually pro-created by God Himself; every life begins the story of Creation again. Indeed, the child is the new-born crown of Creation, the recipient of the gift of the world. But, to assume that the child is a drain on a dwindling amount of resources is not only a historically parochial extrapolation: much more seriously, it doubts prudent judgment and the generous providence of the omnipotent God. Thus, while environmentalists clothe themselves in the mantle of “stewardship,” their concern is inherently impious: the real crisis of global warming is that so many people have been convinced that the greatest gift which God gives to the world is really a curse.

Mother Teresa once said that, “Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.” So many, however, have forgotten this inspired insight and, like the mendacious mother before King Solomon’s throne, are willing to see our most precious resource sacrificed, and call it wisdom. This, of course, is the real crisis of climate change: that so many in our world see their fellow man as a problem to be minimized if not eliminated, diminished if not destroyed. The real ecological disaster of our age is not material, but moral, for population is always a blessing, never a bomb.