Local groups weigh in on popes message on climate change

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COLUMBIA - During his visit to the city of Washington today, Pope Francis said he supports President Obama's efforts to combat climate change.

Just hours later, groups such as The Osage Group of the Sierra Club and Mizzou Energy Action Coalition held a community meeting aimed to inform the public on climate issues. Wednesday specifically, presenters spoke about greenhouse gasses and briefly discussed what they believed to be possible solutions. 

Carolyn Amparan is chair of the Osage Group of the Sierra Club, and she presented at the meeting. She told KOMU 8 News she is thrilled the pope spoke about climate change.

"A lot of people just do not pay enough attention," Amparan said. "So getting someone like the pope who not only Catholics, Christians around the world listen to, and he is considered a world leader, to raise awareness of it and millions of people paying attention to it, it just really helps raise awareness of the issue." 

Not everyone agrees with the pope's message. The president of the Columbia Pachyderms, Fred Berry, said he believes climate change happens naturally, and it is not caused by humans. 

"Man-made climate change is based on junk science," Berry said. "I love the pope, but he got himself into a political arena here which is unusual. I think he needs to be speaking on moral issues."

The moral issues he referred to were things such as family values and abortions. 

One Columbia resident agreed with Berry that climate change is not caused by humans. 

"One of the things I see is that when people are really promoting that climate change is a real problem for our country, that we have to make all of these changes in our exhaust systems and all these things, they kind of have an agenda," Bonnie Le said. 

However, Amparan said too many studies are out there to question whether this is a problem. She said if nothing is done soon, the world is going to be in a dire situation. Based on the pope's comments today, he agreed. 

The Sierra Group and various other groups will continue to hold informational meetings every Wednesday night through December.