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AL climatologist: Pope misguided in stance on climate change

Published: Sep. 24, 2015 at 1:54 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2015 at 2:00 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Alabama's state climatologist thinks the Pope needs a lesson in environmental science.

"If the Pope were in my Climatology class, I would have him do some homework," said Dr. John Christy, a professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. "He'd find out that the regulations he is fond of and the president too, will actually do nothing to change what the climate is going to do."

Pope Francis backed President Obama's plans to cut carbon emissions.

MORE: Pope stirs excitement in DC, calls for climate action | Pope in U.S.

"Climate change is a problem," said the Pope at the White House on Wednesday.

But Christy, who's won a share of a Nobel Prize for his study on climate change in 2007, says reducing carbon emissions will not make a significant difference to global warming.

"From the data that we have from the entire globe, we don't see much of a change, there is a change, but not much, and its not something that's going to be disastrous," said Christy.

In fact, Christy believes the Pope is being counterproductive towards the Church's mission.

"Reducing carbon emissions has a definite economic effect, it hurts the poorest the most and the first, and that's something I don't think the Catholic Hierarchy has factored in at this point," said Christy.

"There is a debate about what to do about climate change, and it generally falls on political lines," he continued. "Those, who like me, do not see any advantage to eliminating these carbon emissions, because they're not going to affect the climate much, we know that; and those who control of the human society, through controlling energy by reducing carbon emissions. That's a different view of society than people who want to see energy available for people, especially the poorest among us."

Christy says he's glad the Pope is worried about the environment, but feels the pontiff could more effectively devote his support elsewhere.

"Water quality in the third world," said Christy. "Millions die each year from the diseases and bacteria and so on that come from untreated water. That's an issue that can be dealt with now, and I would like to see advocated for."

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