Chris Horner

Chris Horner


  • Juris Doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis. [1]


Christopher C. Horner is a Senior Legal Fellow for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) (formerly American Tradition Institute), where he “provides strategic and legal counsel on cases involving Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings and government transparency.” [14]

Horner is a former senior fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Washington, DC-based think-tank. He formerly served as director of litigation at the American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center (now the Energy and Environment Legal Institute). [45]

Horner is a lawyer by training and regularly appears on television as a commentator on the issue of climate change. Horner was made a member of the landing team at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2016. [35], [36]

Horner serves on the Board of Directors of the law firm Government Accountability & Oversight and is listed as a Professional at Climate Litigation Watch. [42], [43]

Chris Horner & Coal

Bankruptcy filings for Alpha Natural Resources in 2015, reported on by Lee Fang at the Intercept, revealed that Chris Horner was being funded by the coal company. [16]

A signed declaration, filed with the bankruptcy court on January 11, 2016, list Horner’s role as Regulatory Counsel for Alpha Natural Resources. Another document shows that funding from Alpha to Horner has continued through to at least the end of January, 2016, which is the most recent reporting period. [17], [18]

The Wall Street Journal reports that Alpha Natural Resources paid Chris Horner $18,600 before it declared bankruptcy. [21] Meanwhile, the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, also an Alpha creditor, paid Horner $110,000 in 2014, $115,865 in 2013, and $60,449 in 2012, according to the clinic’s tax filings. [19], [20]

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute also received funding from the coal company. For example, The Wall Street Journal reported a $10,000 donation to E&E Legal in 2014. E&E Legal’s executive director, Craig Richardson, told the Journal the contribution was for “general support.” [19][20]

Huffington Post notes that the exposure of Horner’s financial ties to coal companies is significant because he is a regular guest on Fox News Channel, which identifies him by his affiliation with CEI or E&E Legal but not by his connection to the coal industry. [19]

Stance on Climate Change

April 2005

In a letter to The Washington Times, Horner wrote:

“Given that the atmosphere inarguably shows no appreciable warming in the 25-year history of satellite and radiosonde measurements (initiated in response to the cooling panic), to assert that runaway global warming is as real as President Bush’s re-election is an absurd proposition.” [2]

Key Quotes

July 2003

Horner was quoted by Marc Morano in a CNSNews article:

“Pluto’s warm-up is a reminder that no matter where you are climate happens. It always has, it always will – with or without SUVs. And it should remind us to continue taking with an ever-increasing grain of salt these claims that your car acts as a weather machine.” [3]

Comments Surrounding 2021 Capitol Insurrection

Chris Horner was among dozens of the individuals and organizations profiled in DeSmog’s Disinformation Database who posted online or gave interviews about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Some posted claims of election fraud, similar to those that drove the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6. Some circulated dubious information about the insurrection itself. DeSmog has preserved a selection of notable posts related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, including some that were later deleted or removed.

Horner posted the following on Twitter on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the failed Capitol insurrection. The message asserts that Horner had a family member who was distraught over the Capitol insurrection and saying that the person was “clearly of the impression that suddenly, yesterday, bad things were inexplicably visited upon us,” adding the abbreviation SMH, commonly used online to indicate “shaking my head.”

Key Deeds

September 24, 2020

Appearing in Marc Morano’s 2020 film Climate Hustle 2: Rise of the Climate Monarchy, produced by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Horner characterised the climate crisis as a pretext for an authoritarian political agenda, stating: [46]

so if you wonder how these things come about, it isn’t because of catastrophic, manmade global warming. Catastrophic man made global warming is a vehicle. The issue isn’t the issue.” 

December 11, 2018

Speaking on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Horner called out the Department of Energy for failing to respond to CEI’s request for information relating to carbon capture and sequestration tax credits. [44]

CEI sued the Department of Energy on December 11 to compel disclosure of information relating to lobbying efforts to expand and make permanent the tax credits. The credit program, known as 45Q, entered into effect in 2008 to provide rebates per ton of carbon reused or sequestered permanently. [44]

CEI claims that large banks and investment firms have lobbied DOE to expand the program to boost their profit margins. [44]

In a statement, Horner said:

After revealing specifics of the records it was processing and when it would comply, the [DOE] suddenly slammed on the brakes, and has refused to release any of the records it had identified as responsive. The program is a consequential one, the campaign to expand it is disturbing, and DOE’s behavior is remarkable.” [44]

September 11, 2018

Horner published a paper on the Heartland Institute’s website critical of the collaboration between state officials and environmental organizations and donors in advancing climate change-related initiatives. Written under the auspices of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the paper is titled “Government For Rent: How Special Interests Finance Governors To Pursue Their Climate Policy Agenda.” [41]

Alleging improper utilization of off-the-books staff members paid for by climate-conscious donors, Horner calls for state investigations of Governors Brown (CA), Cuomo (NY), and Inslee (WA) for accepting assistance from outside organizations. [41]

Horner notes that all of the paper’s cited works are held by Climate Litigation Watch, an arm of the law firm Government Accountability & Oversight. [41]

March 5, 2018

Horner posed for a photo with Marc Morano, Steve Milloy of Junk Science, and Steven Goddard/Tony Heller at what appeared to be an event promoting Morano’s new book,The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change, by Regnery Publishing. Horner had written the first version of the book in 2007[38]

Heller described them as the “The Washington DC global warming scam demolition team.” He also tweeted the image: [38]

August 14, 2017

Writing at USA Today, Horner criticized the New York Times’ reporting on a draft of the federal national assessment climate report contradicting President Trump and other members of his cabinet who have claimed that the affects of climate change are uncertain. [31], [32]

Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report stated. [32]

Horner notes that he and the CEI were quick to file litigation against the report” “It seems that the bureaucracy took the wrong lesson from this episode, hyping drafts instead of perfecting final products to survive challenge,” Horner wrote. [31]

July 20, 2017

Horner was on a podcast with James Delingpole According to Delingpole, reporting on the interview at Breitbart, Horner “has the perfect insider perspective to explain what’s going on in the White House” due to his position on Trump’s EPA transition team. “No other GOP presidential candidate – not Rubio, not Cruz – would have delivered on climate change in the same way as Trump has. They would, quite simply, have been overwhelmed by the swamp,” Delingpole declared. [30]

Here’s what I firmly believe,” Horner said. “I’m convinced that the penny dropped for others, as it did me, when Donald Trump gave his editorial board interview to the Washington Post. It’s often mocked – where he said: ‘I’m not a big believer in global warming. Not a big believer.’ And then he continued in a very important way. And if you follow the way Donald Trump speaks it’s perfectly clear what he’s saying. He said, ‘You know, a lot of people are making a lot of money off of this.’ 

He was not saying this as a politician says it.  (‘And if we use spoons not shovels we can create even more jobs…’ That sort of playground thinking is very common among politicians.) And whatever anybody thinks about Donald Trump you can be confident of this. At 21, at Le Cirque, somewhere at some point, somebody who is making a killing off the rents of the global warming industry laughed it up a little too loudly or once too many times around Donald Trump. Because what he said to the Washington Post was ‘You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. Goldmans is making a killing out of this.’ That’s what I heard him say. Politicians normally fall for this. But not Donald. Instead – what I heard him say ‘They’re making a lot of money out of this’  – he said: ‘You’re propping up, sometimes even standing up industries, to transfer taxpayer money to them. And he didn’t go into Energy Poverty or the Economic Drag or the inefficiency or the opportunity cost or the 2.2 jobs. He just said: ‘You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. A lot of people are making a lot of money off this.’ And to me he was saying ‘This is something of a scam.’ You can take his Chinese hoax comments, you can take hoax in any context but the fact is the way they’re playing out the global warming industry there are many scams involved and I think he was aware of this. I do think at one point somebody laughed a little too loudly…” [30]

May 2017

The Washington Times reported that Horner worked to get documents released from the Obama Administration regarding the previous administration’s efforts to enter into the Paris climate agreement. [29]

“State focuses on what’s best for State. Will their lives be enriched or made more difficult by having to advance and defend the new administration’s stated policy? Less money, no massive expansion of a climate diplomatic corps? Then undermine adoption of the policy,” Horner said.
“State is largely populated by those whose worldview embraces such gestures advancing an agenda in the name of global salvationism,” he said. “President Trump should view State’s input here with great suspicion, taking note of its record on this matter.” [29]

December 12, 2016

Chris Horner was an attendee at a private meeting also attended by Trump’s EPA Transition team lead Myron Ebell on Capitol Hill. E&E News reported that the event was not open to the public or to the press and Ebell refused to give any details. The event was hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and held in the hearing room of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. The EPW committee is chaired by Senator James Inhofe who, like Trump, has described human-caused climate change as a hoax. [23]

DeSmog reported that the event featured the “Who’s Who of Climate Science Deniers.”  Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts, who spoke at the event, also wrote that the meeting was a gathering of the Cooler Heads Coalition and listed some of the participants on Facebook: [24], [25]

Malcolm Roberts Facebook Post

Names mentioned above included:

DeSmog also noted that three of the attendees—Myron Ebell, Randy Randol, and Steve Milloy—had all been part of the Global Climate Science Communications Team in the late 1990s, a group organized by the American Petroleum Institute. According to an early memo, the group said “victory will be achieved when […] Average citizens ‘understand’ (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom’.” [26]

December 9, 2016

Horner became a member of the landing team at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Horner, who had spent years fighting for the release of information from the EPA, would now be on the inside of the same agency he had been fighting. Horner’s role on the “landing team” would be to learn about department operations and prepare for the new administration. [37][36]

“He’s been looking to get into this bank vault over the years, and finally somebody just opened the door up and let him walk in,” Michael McKenna, an energy strategist for the Republican Party, The Washington Times reported[36]

October 15, 2015

Chris Horner was paid $18,600 by coal company Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. “before it filed for chapter 11 this summer [2015],” according to the Wall Street Journal‘s Bankruptcy Beat piece, “Alpha Natural Discloses Payments to Climate Change Skeptic Chris Horner.” [15]

Horner received three payments from Alpha Natural Resources, each for $6,200, through the months of May, June, and July of 2015. [15] The WSJ‘s report notes that prior to “the recent bankruptcy filing, it wasn’t clear how much Alpha was paying Mr. Horner.” [15]

In an e-mail response to the WSJ, Horner wrote, “As you know, I’m a working attorney … Parties come to me seeking legal assistance. Obviously I can’t discuss that any more than I could if it was you seeking advice.” [15]

May 21–23, 2012

Horner was a speaker at Heartland Institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). His speech, titled “The incredible disappearing climate agenda and its true costs” can be viewed below. 

DeSmogBlog researched the co-sponsors behind Heartland’s ICCC7 and found that they had collectively received over $67 million from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the Scaife family foundations. 

June 30–July 1, 2011

Horner spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change. His presentation was titled “Crony Capitalism and the ‘Green Jobs’ Charade.” [4]

DeSmogBlog found that 17 of the 43 sponsors of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, including the Heartland Institute itself, have collectively received over $46 million from either Scaife Foundations, Koch Foundations, or ExxonMobil and its foundation.

May, 2010

Horner was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4.) His speech, titled “It was never about climate: Obama’s power grab” can be viewed below. [39]

DeSmog has done research on the co-sponsors of the conference and found that 19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) have received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil, Koch Industries family foundations or the Scaife family foundations.  

March 8-10, 2009

Horner was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2). His speech, titled “Re-Writing the Roles for Kyoto II: Turning a Treaty into a Congressional-executive Agreement” can be viewed below.  [33]

DeSmogBlog found that organizations sponsoring the conference had collectively received over $40 million from oil companies and right-wing foundations such as Koch Foundations and Scaife Foundations.

February 27, 2009

Horner accused NASA‘s chief climate scientist, James Hansen, of “doctor[ing] temperature data on two occasions in 2001 and once in 2007 in attempts to show an impending climate catastrophe.”

Horner stated that Hansen had “clearly abused his platform provided to him by the taxpayer, principally by the way he’s been exposed of manipulating and revising data with the strange coincidence of him always found on the side of exaggerating the warming.” [5]


Participated in the “Climate Chains” video along with fellow climate change skeptics Myron Ebell, Marlo Lewis, Patrick Michaels, and Todd Wynn. The video claims that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and prosperity in America is climate change legislation.” The video was organized by the Cascade Policy Institute. [6]

March 2–4, 2008

Horner spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1). Horner’s speech, titled “Business and Media Institute roundtable Panel: Global Worming Censored.” can be viewed below. [34]

May 2, 2007

Appeared on Glenn Beck’s May 2, 2007 special “Exposed: The Climate of Fear.”

July 24, 2002

Horner testified before the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Environmental and Public Works on Kyoto Protocol. [27]

Horner argues that “Skipping specific pursuit of the U.S.’ Rio promises, in favor of Kyoto’s binding commitments even greater than those we’ve failed to attain, seems highly illogical.” [27]

He goes on to criticize the Kyoto agreement, claiming that its models “predict an undetectable climatic impact.” [27]

June 4, 2002

Chris Horner wrote CEI’s petition to stop the EPA from sharing the 2002 Climate Action Report, claiming that the EPA’s report is “in violation of the Federal Data Quality Act (‘FDQA’).” [28]

EPA must immediately cease electronic and other dissemination of the “Climate Action Report 2002”, which relies in part on, cites, and further disseminates (see esp. “Chapter 6”), the unacceptable data provided by the National Assessment on climate Change, as defined by OMB and described, supra,” Horner wrote.


Social Media


Horner has written two books published through Regnery Publishing: Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed (2008) and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism (2007).

According to a search of Google Scholar, Horner has not published any peer-reviewed articles on the subject of climate change.


  1. Christopher C. Horner: Senior Fellow,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived November 3, 2017. URL
  2. Christopher C. Horner. “Reviving ‘Global Warming’,”Washington Times. Republished by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, April 29, 2005. Archived November 3, 2017. URL
  3. Marc Morano. “’Alarmist’ Global Warming Claims Unfounded Says Climatolgist,, July 14, 2003. Archived March 23, 2008. URL
  4. Chris Horner, ICCC6,” International Conferences on Climate Change. Archived November 3, 2017. URL
  5. NASA‘s Chief Climate Scientist Stirs Controversy With Call for Civil Disobedience,”, February 27, 2009.
  6. About the Experts,” Archived April 1, 2010.
  7. Court Orders University of Virginia to Produce Documents of Dr. Michael Mann” (Press Release), American Tradition Institute, May 25, 2011.
  8. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Christopher C. Horner.
  9. Contributors,” Archived November 3, 2017. URL:
  10. Christopher C. Horner,” Tech Central Station. Archived February 8, 2005.
  11. Christopher C. Horner,” Profile at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Archived November 3, 2017. URL:
  12. Executive,” European Enterprise Institute. Archived January 6, 2009.
  13. Chris Horner,” SourceWatch Profile.
  14. Senior Leadership,” Energy and Environment Legal Institute. Archived November 3, 2017. URL:
  15. Alpha Natural Discloses Payments to Climate Change Skeptic Chris Horner,“ Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2015. Archived November 4, 2015.
  16. Lee Fang. “Coal Mining CEO Defends Financing Harassment of Climate Scientists,” The Intercept. September 30, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DesmogBlog.
  17. In re: Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. Et Al., Debtors” (PDF), Case No. 15-33896 (KRH). Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  18. Nick Surgey. “Lawyer Tormenting Scientists Revealed Working For Coal Company,” PR Watch, March 18, 2016. Archived March 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  19. Elliott Negin. “Coal Companies’ Secret Funding of Climate Science Denial Exposed,” Huffington Post, April 12, 2016. Archived April 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  20. Patrick Fitzgerald. “Arch Coal Made $10,000 Gift to Energy & Environment Legal,” The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2016. Archived April 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  21. Patrick Fitzgerald. “Alpha Natural Discloses Payments to Climate Change Skeptic Chris Horner,” The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2015. Archived April 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  22. Our Leadership,” Frontiers of Freedom. Archived June 8, 2003. URL
  23. George Cahlink. “Trump EPA adviser Myron Ebell meets with Hill aides,” E&E News, December 12, 2016.
  24. Graham Readfearn. “Donald Trump’s Aide at EPA Myron Ebell Meets with Who’s Who of Climate Science Deniers,” DeSmog, December 13, 2016.
  25. Yesterday I spoke at an event for the Competitive Enterprise Institute called Cooler Heads Coalition in Washington. […]” Facebook post by Malcolm Roberts – QLD Senate – One Nation, December 13 at 6:38 pm. Archived image on file at DeSmog.
  26. Global Climate Science Communications Plan (1998),” SourceWatch.
  28. Chris Horner. “CEI‘s Petition To EPA To Cease Dissemination Of Climate Action Report,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 4, 2002. Archived October 9, 2002. URL
  29. Ben Wolfgang. “State Department under Obama made U.S. participation vital to Paris climate pact,” The Washington Times, May 18, 2017. Archived June 27, 2017. URL
  30. Delingpole: Solving the Mystery of How Donald Trump Got to be so Amazing on Climate Change…Breitbart, July 21, 2017. Archived July 21, 2017. URL:
  31. Don’t hype draft climate studies,” USA Today, August 14, 2017. URL:
  32. Lisa Friedman. “Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report,” The New York Times, August 7, 2017. URL:
  33. Re-Writing the Rules for Kyoto II: Turning a Treaty into a Congressional-executive Agreement,” International Conferences on Climate Change. Archived November 2, 2017. URL:
  34. Christopher Horner, ICCC1,” International Conferences on Climate Change. Archived November 3, 2017. URL
  35. Ben Jervey. “The Trump Administration Is Filling Up With Koch Allies,” DeSmog, December 19, 2016.
  36. President-Elect Trump Announces Additional Agency Landing Team Members,” President Elect Donald J. Trump, December 9, 2016. Archived December 9, 2016. URL
  37. Longtime EPA foe goes behind enemy lines on Trump ‘landing team’,” The Washington Times, December 18, 2016. Archived November 3, 2017. URL:
  38. Hot Off The Press,” The Deplorable Climate Science Blog, March 7, 2018. Archived March 10, 2018. URL:
  39. “Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, Program” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived March 12, 2018.
  40.  “Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, Program” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived March 12, 2018.
  41. Chris Horner. “Government for Rent: How Special Interests Finance Governors to Pursue Their Climate Policy Agenda,” The Heartland Institute, September 11, 2018. Archived November 16, 2018. URL
  42.  ”Team Members,” Government Oversight & Accountability. Archived November 16, 2018. URL
  43.  ”Professionals,” Climate Litigation Watch. Archived November 16, 2018. URL
  44. Tim Pearce. “Energy Department Hit with FOIA Lawsuit Over Green Tax Credit Lobbying Campaign,” The Daily Caller, December 11, 2018. Archived December 12, 2018. URL:
  45. Christopher C. Horner,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived April 28, 2020. Archive URL:
  46.  Climate Hustle 2: Rise of the Climate Monarchy. CFACT/ CDR Communications, Inc., 2020

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