John Christy

John R. Christy

John R. Christy


  • Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois (1987).
  • M.S., Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois, (1984).
  • M.Div. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (1978).
  • B.A., Mathematics California State University, Fresno (1973).

Source: [1]


John R. Christy is a meteorologist at the University of Alabama Huntsville. He is closely associated with climate change skeptic Roy Spencer with whom he collaborated on the George C. Marshall Institute Roundtable discussion on climate change in April 2006.

Christy is the Director of the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and has been Alabama State Climatologist since November, 2000. [2], [11]

John Christy has testified on numerous occasions against the mainstream scientific views on man-made climate change. 

Stance on Climate Change

“I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see.” [3]

Key Quotes

“I was at the table with three Europeans, and we were having lunch. And they were talking about their role as lead authors. And they were talking about how they were trying to make the report so dramatic that the United States would just have to sign that Kyoto Protocol.” [14]

“…it is fairly well agreed that the surface temperature will rise about 1°C as a modest response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 if the rest of the component processes of the climate system remain independent of this response.” [4]

“We utilize energy from carbon, not because we are bad people, but because it is the affordable foundation on which the profound improvements in our standard of living have been achieved – our progress in health and welfare.” [5]

“If you choose to make regulations about carbon dioxide, that’s OK. You as a state can do that; you have a right to do it. But it’s not going to do anything about the climate. And it’s going to cost, there’s no doubt about that.”  [12]

“[W]e are not morally bad people for taking carbon and turning it into the energy that offers life to humanity in a world that would otherwise be brutal (think of life before modernity). On the contrary, we are good people for doing so.” [15]

Key Deeds

December 8, 2015

Set to coincide with the Paris COP21 (Conference of the Parties), John Christy testified at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness convened by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) titled “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.” [16] 
Christy suggests that a climate “Red Team” be developed which would “produce an assessment that expresses legitimate, alternative hypotheses” for climate change. John Christy's full testimony document is available here (PDF). [17]
According to the event description, the hearing will focus on “the ongoing debate over climate science, the impact of federal funding on the objectivity of climate research, and the ways in which political pressure can suppress opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science.”
Other listed witnesses include:

June, 2015

In response to the release of Pope Francis's Encyclical on the Environment, John R. Christy published an opinion piece suggesting that burning fossil fuels is actually a good thing:

“[W]e are not morally bad people for taking carbon and turning it into the energy that offers life to humanity in a world that would otherwise be brutal (think of life before modernity). On the contrary, we are good people for doing so,” Christy said. [15]

Christy concludes that carbon becomes a “positive moral imperative to consider.”

February 14, 2012

Christy released a study that claimed snowfall in the Sierra Nevada has remained consistent for 130 years, with no noticeable effect from climate change. [8]

James Taylor of the Heartland Institute penned a Forbes article where he claimed that Christy's findings “refute frequent assertions by global warming alarmists that global warming is adversely affecting Sierra Nevada snowfall and snowpack.” The climate change skeptic blog Watts Up With That also publicized the story [9]

When asked about the reaction to his paper, Christy said “In general, it depends on what religion you have. If you believe Man is doing horrible things to the planet, then you can’t believe this report. If you believe the other way, then this is a chapter in your bible.”

David Pearce, one of John Christy's colleagues, feels that Christy has gone beyond the data in his study, and that Christy is making claims in the media that have not been backed up by the study itself. Pearce adds that it “is unfortunate because peer-review is the process that filters out unsupported personal opinion from what is backed by evidence.” [10]

March 8, 2011

Testified (PDF) at a hearing hosted by the Energy and Power Subcommittee to discuss “Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations.”

Christy concluded that “if the country deems it necessary to de-carbonize civilization's main energy sources, sound and indeed compelling reasons beyond human-induced climate change need to be offered. Climate change alone is a weak leg on which to stand for such a massive undertaking.”

February 25, 2009

Testified (PDF) before the House Ways and Means Committee at the “Hearing on Scientific Objectives for Climate Change Legislation.”

Here is a summary of Christy's testimony:

“Dr. John Christy was skeptical whether there was any way for the U.S. to make detectable changes in global warming. He feared that the scale of carbon emissions is 'simply too enormous,' and the only possible solution is to start a large nuclear energy campaign. According to Christy, 'The actions being considered to “stop global warming” will have an imperceptible impact on whatever the climate will do, while making energy more expensive, and thus have a negative impact on the economy as a whole'.”

One source responded to Christy's testimony, concluding that “John Christy has added to the science of atmospheric modeling, but he has undercut his credibility by making claims far exceeding his data and by ignoring findings that disagree with his arguments. Then he sins by distorting his testimony for a purely political agenda.”

May 2, 2007

Appeared on the Glenn Beck Special, “Exposed: The Climate of Fear” alongside other prominent climate skeptics including Tim BallPatrick MichaelsPatrick MooreChris HornerBjorn LomborgGeorge TaylorDavid Legates, and Roy Spencer.

March 8, 2007

Christy appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary.

The Great Global Warming Swindle also starred fellow skeptics Tim Ball, Roy Spencer, Fred Singer, Pat Michaels, Nir Shaviv, Nigel Lawson, Ian Clark, Piers Corbyn, Philip Stott, Paul Reiter, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Moore, Patrick Michaels, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Fred Singer, Paul Driessen, and others.

July 27, 2006

Testified (PDF) at a hearing hosted by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the subject of “Questions Surrounding the 'Hockey Stick' Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments Part II.

Christy cites his previous studies that concluded “greenhouse gases are increasing in concentration is clearly true and therefore the radiation budget of the atmosphere will be altered. In response, the surface temperature should rise due to this additional forcing. In our observational work however, we have not been able to show clear support for the manner or magnitude of this response as has been depicted by the present set of climate models (Christy, 2002, Christy et al. 2006a, Christy and Norris 2006, Christy et al. 2006b).”

July 20, 2006

Testified before the House Committee on Government Reform in a Hearing titled “Climate Change: Understanding the Degree of the Problem.”

August 12, 2005

According to a New York Times article, John Christy along with fellow skeptic Roy Spencer admitted they made a mistake in their satellite data research that they said demonstrated a cooling in the troposphere (the earth's lowest layer of atmosphere). It turned out that the exact opposite was occurring and the troposphere was getting warmer. [6]

“These papers should lay to rest once and for all the claims by John Christy and other global warming skeptics that a disagreement between tropospheric and surface temperature trends means that there are problems with surface temperature records or with climate models,” said Alan Robock, a meteorologist at Rutgers University.

July 28, 2003

Co-author of the Independent Institute report “New Perspectives in Climate Change: What the EPA Isn't Telling Us” that criticized the EPA's 2001 Climate Action Report.

Other authors of the report included S. Fred Singer, Robert E. Davis, David R. Legates, and Wendy M. Novicoff.

“New Perspectives on Climate change” accused The IPCC's 2001 assessment on climate change of being “misleading, inaccurate, unreliable, or simply wrong.” 

December 12, 2003

Spoke at an event hosted by the Cato Institute titled “Global Warming: The State of the Debate.”

Cato claims that the event summarizes “what is known about the science and economics surrounding greenhouse gas concentrations and abatement. Moreover, it tackles squarely what is perhaps the most relevant policy issue at the moment—the potential costs and benefits involved in dealing with scientific uncertainty.”



  • Christy, J.R. “When was the hottest summer? A state climatologist struggles for an answer.” Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 723-734. 2002.
  • Christy, J.R. and R.W. Spencer. “Correcting temperature data sets.” Science, 310, 972. 2005.
  • Christy, J.R., W.B. Norris, K. Redmond and K.P. Gallo. “Methodology and results of calculating Central California surface temperature trends: Evidence of human-induced climate change.” J. Climate, 19, 548-563. 2006.
  • Christy, J.R. and W.B. Norris. “Satellite and VIZ radiosondes intercomparison for diagnosis of non-climatic influences.” J. Atmos. Oc. Tech. 2006
  • Christy, J.R., W.B. Norris, R.W. Spencer and J.J. Hnilo. “Tropospheric temperature change since 1979 from tropical radiosonde and satellite measurements.” J. Geophys. Res.2006.
  • Satellite Temperature Data.” George C. Marshall Institute. Transcript from the Marshall Institute's Washington Roundtable on Science and Public Policy. April 17, 2006.


  1. About John: Education,” profile at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

  2. About John,” University of Alabama in Huntsville. Accessed December 2, 2011.

  3. My Nobel moment.” November 1, 2007. The Wall Street Journal.

  4. John R. Christy's testimony (PDF) to the Subcommittee Energy and Power on March 8, 2011.

  5. Written testimony (PDF) of John R. Christy at the House Ways and Means Committee, February 25, 2009.

  6. Andrew C. Revkin. “Errors Cited in Assessing Climate Data,” The New York Times, August 12, 2005.

  7. Nation’s Leading Global Warming Experts Unveil New Findings on Climate Change” (Press Release), The Independent Institute, July 28, 2003.

  8. Peter Fimrite. “Study: Sierra snowfall consistent over 130 years,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2012.

  9. James Taylor. “Dear Global Warming Alarmists: We're Still Waiting for Declining Snowfall,” Forbes, February 29, 2012.

  10. Mark Robison. “News analysis: Does Sierra snow study buck fears of warming?,”, April 7, 2012.

  11. Contact Us,” Earth System Science Center. Accessed August 5, 2012.

  12. Nikki Wentling. “Legislature considering delays in renewable energy standards,” Lawrence Journal World, February 5, 2013.

  13. Greenpeace investigations on John Christy.

  14. UN Scientists Who Have Turned on UNIPCC Man-Made Climate Fears - A Climate Depot Flashback Report,” Climate Depot, August 21, 2013

  15.  John R. Christy. “Alabama climatologist Dr. John Christy questions Pope's take on climate change: guest opinion,” Alabama Local News, June 22, 2015. Archived July 3, 2015.

  16. U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation Senator John Thune, Chairman * Senator Bill Nelson, Ranking Member,” U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation. Archived December 4, 2015. WebCite URL

  17. “Testimony of John R. Christy” (PDF), U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, Dec 8 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

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