Alister McFarquhar

Alister McFarquhar


  • MA, Ph.D.; Agriculture Economics, Development Economics; University of Cambridge (1959 – 1963). [8]
  • BSc. Agricultural Economcis, The University of Glasgow (1959 – 1963). [8]


Alister McFarquhar is a retired economist from Cambridge, United Kingdom. He is one of 20 economists on Senator Inhofe‘s List of 400+ “prominent climate scientists” who deny global warming. [1][8]

McFarquhar has done prior work with the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), a UK-based free market think-tank. According to their website, the Adam Smith Institute is “at the forefront of making the case for free markets and a free society in the United Kingdom” and is “actively campaigning for far-reaching free market solutions – like flat taxes, free  banking, and radically liberalized education.” [6]

The Adam Smith Institute has worked with tobacco giant Philip Morris to create an international center to train journalists that would be “ideologically consistent with PM‘s issues and interests,” archived tobacco industry documents show. [7]

Stance on Climate Change

March 4, 2008

McFarqehar is a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change which states that “the IPCC’s conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity.” In summary, “attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity’s real and pressing problems.” [2]

Key Quotes

October 18, 2004

McFarquehar wrote a letter to the editor of The Telegraph, complaining about coverage of the Kyoto treaty, which McFarquehar describes as “too costly.” [10]

“There is no clear evidence of warming in weather satellites and balloons in the 20th century. Predictions of warming depend on models involving arbitrary assumptions and science hypotheses. The relation between CO2, water vapour and putative warming seems very obscure,” he wrote in the letter. [10]

Key Deeds

March 4, 2008

McFarquhar signed the Manhattan Declaration on Climate change which was promoted by the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). The ICSC lists McFarquhar as one of 206 “climate experts” who are signatories. [3]

The ICSC is a directed by prominent climate change skeptic Tom Harris and is affiliated with other high-profile climate skeptic organizations including the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), Climate Audit (edited by Stephen McIntyre) and Friends of Science (FoS).

December 13, 2007

McFarquhar is listed as a signatory to a 2007 open letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. [4]

The open letter describes global warming as “a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages,” and describes CO2 as a “non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis.” [4]

April 2006

McFarquhar signed a 2006 open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper recommending that the government stall any action on climate policy because the “climate changes all the time due to natural causes.” The letter advocates a delay or cancelation of Kyto reductions, and states that “allocating funds to ‘stopping climate change’ would be irrational.” Many prominent skeptics signed the letter, including Tim Ball, David Wojick, Chris de Freitas, Ian Clark and Paul Copper. [9]

“I was privileged to be invited to sign an open letter to Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, suggesting a rethink on climate policy. Of course, it might be hard to find scientists in the UK to sign, given the peer pressure they come under to conform to the man-made warming hypothesis, with the attention and funding which it brings,” McFarquehar wrote of the letter. [11]



According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, has not published any research articles in peer-reviewed journals. According to Google Scholar, McFarquhar has published some studies on land use policy.


  1. 20 of Inhofe’s Global Warming Deniers Are Economists,” The Daily Green, January 10, 2008. Archived March 16, 2008. URL
  2. THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE,” International Climate Science Coalition. Archived October 13, 2017. URL
  3. CLIMATE EXPERTS WHO SIGNED MANHATTAN DECLARATION,” International Climate Science Coalition. Archived October 13, 2017. URL
  4. Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” Science and Public Policy Institute, December 13, 2007. Archived July 25, 2008. URL:
  5. Alister McFarquehar. “Planning Rape: Land Use Policy and Local Government Finance in the UK” (PDF), Adam Smith Institute, 1999. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  6. About Us,” Adam Smith Institute. Archived January 24, 2016. URL
  7. January Monthly Report,” Phillip Morris Companies, February 4, 1992. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. Bates No. 2024671858-2024671861.
  8. Alister McFarquhar,” LinkedIn. Accessed October 12, 2017.
  9. Richard Littlemore. “Denying Climate Change; Urging Inaction,” DeSmog, April 19, 2006.
  10. Alister McFarquehar. “No clear evidence of warming,” The Telegraph, October 18, 2004. Archived October 13, 2017. URL:
  11. Readers, I signed that letter,” Adam Smith Institute. Archived via Google Cache. URL:

Other Resources

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