Craig Idso

Craig D. Idso


  • Ph.D., Geography, Arizona State University. [1]
  • B.S., Geography, Arizona State University. [1]
  • M.S., Agronomy, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. [1]


Craig Idso is the Chairman and former President of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (AKA or CSCDGC). [1] The Center’s stated mission is to “separate reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change.” [46]

The CSCDGC ranked Number eight on a list of the “Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial” compiled by Mother Jones in 2009. [37]

The Center’s publication is CO2 Science, a weekly magazine that features articles questioning the science behind man-made climate change. Craig’s father Sherwood B. Idso is currently the President of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide on Global Change, while his brother, Keith Idso, is the Center’s Vice President. [46][47]

According to leaked internal documents from the Heartland Institute in 2012, Craig Idso was receiving $11,600 a month from the Heartland Institute through his Center for the Study of CO2 & Global Change. [43][44]

Oil Industry Ties

Craig Idso served as Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy from 2001-2002 in St. Louis, MO. According to ExxonSecrets, Craig and Keith Idso produced a report for the Western Fuels Association titled “The Greening of Planet Earth Its Progression from Hypothesis to Theory” in January, 1998. [1][2]

Craig and Keith Idso have other ties to the Western Fuels Association. In October, 1999, they assisted in publishing a report for the Greening Earth Society (a group funded and controlled by Western Fuels) titled “Forecasting World Food Supplies: The Impact of the Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentration,” as Idso announced in a separate CO2 Science article. [38]

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch) reports that Idso’s CSCDGC was also listed as a creditor in Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy filings in 2016. [35] While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy’s financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [36]

In 2006, Craig Idso also incorporated Inc., a company serving the oilfield industry. According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, the company was dissolved in August, 2008. A similarly-named “Cenospheres LLC” was also incorporated in May of 2008 and run by Lance and Julene Idso until that corporation was dissolved in February of 2013. [39][40]

Despite the connections listed above, in a 2014 radio interview, Idso was asked if he had “any ties to any energy companies.” He responded: “No I don’t, actually.” [41]

Stance on Climate Change

The following are some of the key points made by the Center for Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: [3]

“A weak short-term correlation between CO2 and temperature proves nothing about causation.”

“Strong negative climatic feedbacks prohibit catastrophic warming.”

“Growth-enhancing effects of CO2 create an impetus for cooling.”

“There is no evidence for warming-induced increases in extreme weather.”

“Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are a boon to the biosphere.” 

“Atmospheric CO2 enrichment brings growth and prosperity to man and nature alike.”

Key Quotes

November 30, 2017

Speaking at the “At the Crossroads IV: Energy & Climate Policy Summit,” co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation and Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), Idso declared: [90]

“The reality is that any efforts to restrict CO2 emissions will not only raise food prices, but jeopardize the future food security of the planet.” [90]

October 9, 2017

Following EPA administrator Scott Pruitt‘s announcement that the Trump administration would be scrapping the Clean Power Plan, Idso issued the following statement via the Heartland Institute: [79]

“Today’s action by Pruitt is a wake-up call for those who continue to falsely claim carbon dioxide is a pollutant. It isn’t, so get over it! Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is essential for life on Earth. It will never cause the dangerous global warming that climate alarmists and their failed models predict. Future legal challenges to reverse Pruitt’s action are welcomed, as they will only fail in the end.” [79]

December 8, 2016

For years, the U.S. government has held the position that atmospheric CO2 is a dangerous air pollutant that must be regulated to avoid the perils of global warming and climate change. I hope and trust that you also know that the scientific evidence supporting that position is tenuous at best and upheld primarily by inadequate and unvalidated computer model projections as opposed to real-world observations. This I know from having studied thousands of scientific papers on the topic.” [67]

There really is probably no category of photosynthesizing plant that does not respond in a positive manner to atmospheric CO2 enrichment, and that is not likely to be benefited by the ongoing rise in the air CO2 content.” [67]

“It is my sincere hope the incoming Trump administration will recognize these truths, for truths they indeed are, and reverse course as is appropriate on federal policies that for far too long now have besmirched and defamed the many virtues of carbon dioxide. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant. It is the very elixir of life.“ [67]

August 2016

“Forecasts of future pH come from unproven, theoretical postulations by models based on absorption of CO2 by the oceans. Regardless, there really is no such thing as a representative pH for the whole ocean. It varies vastly near the coast and in upwelling regions, much more than the projected increase in acidity.” [57]

June 2016

“Despite a constant barrage of stories portraying rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) as a danger and threat to the planet, more and more scientific evidence is accruing showing that the opposite is true.” [50]

December 2015

“Carbon dioxide is a well-known aerial fertilizer, and many thousands of studies have proven the growth-enhancing, water-saving and stress-alleviating benefits it provides for plants. The reality is that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are providing a multitude of benefits to the biosphere.” [51]

July 2015

“Indeed, even now, we may already be unknowing participants in the great plan, as our burning of fossil fuels releases long-sequestered carbon to the atmosphere, awakening earth’s plant life from the lethargy of the low CO2 concentrations under which it has basically slumbered throughout the entire history of man. Let us deeply consider these matters—even prayerfully—before we put forth our arm to steady the ark of God. He is clearly capable of doing His own work.” [28]

December 2014

CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a benefit. It is the very elixer of life.” [19]

September, 2014

“As just one example, and a damning one at that, all of the computer models upon which this vision is based failed to predict the current plateau in global temperature that has continued for nearly two decades now. That the Earth has not warmed significantly during this period, despite an 8 percent increase in atmospheric CO2, is a major indictment of the models’ credibility in predicting future climate, as well as the assertion that debate on this topic is ‘settled.’” [52]

“[I]t is a well-established fact that atmospheric CO2 is the major building block of nearly all life, as it is used by plants in the process of photosynthesis to construct their tissues and grow. As numerous scientific studies have conclusively demonstrated, the more CO2 there is in the air, the better plants grow. They produce greater amounts of biomass, become more efficient in using water, and are better able to cope with environmental stresses such as pollution, drought, salinity, and high temperatures.” [52]

“By ignoring these realities, policy prescriptions calling for a reduction in fossil fuel use are found—on this basis alone—to be ill-advised. Yet there are still other important reasons to reject them.” [52]

“Taxing or regulating CO2 emissions is an unnecessary and detrimental policy option that should be shunned. Why would any government or religious institution advocate to increase regulations and raise energy prices based on flawed computer projections of climate change that will never come to pass?” [52]

March, 2014

“Despite thousands of scientific articles affirming numerous benefits of rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2, IPCC makes almost no mention of any positive externalities resulting from such…Climate Change Reconsidered II corrects this failure, presenting an analysis of thousands of neglected research studies IPCC has downplayed or ignored in its reports so that scientists, politicians, educators, and the general public can be better informed and make decisions about the potential impacts of CO2-induced climate change.” [15]


The Industrial Revolution has been a tremendous boon to humanity, as it has lifted large numbers of our kind from poverty to prosperity.  It has also helped the rest of the biosphere – and thereby us once again – via the powerful aerial fertilization effect of the carbon dioxide that has gone into the atmosphere as a consequence of the burning of fossil fuels.  Indeed, it’s been win, win, win for all of life; and if there’s ever been a recipe for success, this is it.” [4]

Key Deeds

January 13, 2020

Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Fred Palmer published an article at the coal mining industry publication CoalZoom describing a plan to form a new group called “Saving US Coal.” The Saving US Coal Campaign is a partnership between CoalZoom and Craig Idso’s Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CSCDGC/CO2 Science) with donations being funneled through CSCDGC[97][99], [100]

“’Saving US Coal’ has been created to be the vehicle for turning the tide for the full acceptance of coal in the US energy market by undertaking a campaign to repeal CO2 Endangerment at EPA. That requires a compelling EPA filing, of course, one that proves the benign and beneficial nature of more CO2 in the air based on the incredible work that Craig Idso has carried on for his Dad, Sherwood Idso and mentor, Sylvan Wittwer. However, it also requires creation of a coal coalition, like the Climate council quoted above, and the make-up of that coalition can be learned from coal’s past,” Palmer wrote. [97]

He envisions the group to be a modern equivalent to CEED, the coal industry group that later merged to form ACCCE. As Palmer described it: [97]

“In 1992, CEED was formed to meet the challenge to coal plants due to coal combustion and its CO2 profile and engage at the state level.” [97]

… .

CEED was successful in the 90s and the approach used then can inform for today. Coal’s challenge today at the state level is much more serious than it was in 1992, for the simple reason that the great investor owned utilities in CEED have switched sides and they own the regulated coal plants. But the CEED model never depended on the nature of CEED‘s members, it depended and depends on defending CO2 in defense of Coal. ‘Saving US Coal’ is the only entity that can do this today and its leaders were engaged directly in the 90s with CEED and succeeding years. ‘Saving US Coal’ can perform the same function today as CEED did then in a virtual way.” [97]

Palmer envisions Craig Idso taking a key role in the new group by promoting benefits of CO2[97]

“Once filed at EPA, ‘Saving US Coal’ will engage virtually at the state level with regulators directly and through NARUC to educate on the benefits of CO2 to the biosphere and the human environment. At the same time Craig will develop additional, original research showing the truth of CO2 which will be distributed as generated to the regulators. By doing so, coal suppliers can then engage directly with the regulators with challenges to the announced closures; rep-opening previous announcements where the plants are still operating is not out of the question.” [97]

He also makes recommendations on coal industry groups that could be encouraged to join the pro-coal coalition: [97]

“Today, there are groups sitting right in front of us and ready to go in coalition, I believe. These include: [97]

Count on Coal through NMA

Friends of Coal in West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania

RMCMI in Colorado

The American Coal Council

The state coal associations, a very powerful and overlooked resource

Trade press”

Palmer first joined CoalZoom along with Craig Idso, in coordination with Bill Reid, in December 2019 to focus on the initiative with “the ultimate deliverable: repealing the EPA CO2 Endangerment Finding highlighting coal use as the vehicle and Champion that it is and will be.” [98]

May 1, 2019

Idso co-hosted a CO2 Coalition briefing with Caleb Rossiter on Capitol Hill to present findings from a report titled “What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security.” [96]

The Coalition’s report described carbon dioxide as “a non-polluting, non-toxic gas” and “a powerful plant food.” [96]

The briefing suggested increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 would result in higher crop yields:

The CO2 added to the air has already ‘greened’ the planet: since 1900, it has increased crop production on the order of 15 to 30 percent, and satellite imagery shows that deserts are even shrinking in places as new plants encroach on their edges. […] this effect will only improve as carbon dioxide continues to rise from four one-hundredths of one percent of the atmosphere today to, perhaps, six one-hundredths of one percent in 50 years.” [96]

February 25, 2019

Idso was the lead researcher for a CO2 Coalition white paper titled “What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security.” The paper claimed rising levels of CO2, described as “non-polluting” “plant food,” was a boon for global agriculture. [95]

The paper’s executive summary credits CO2 with “greening” the planet, an effect that:

[W]ill only improve as carbon dioxide continues to rise from four percent of one percent of the atmosphere today to, perhaps, six percent of one percent in 50 years.” [95]

December 4, 2018

Idso appeared at a live-streamed Heartland Institute media event in Katowice, Poland scheduled to coincide with the 24th UN Conference of the Parties (COP-24).

During the announcement and presentation of a Heartland-sponsored report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) titled “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels,” Idso said: [94]

I can tell you with complete confidence that there is absolutely no observational evidence that provides any compelling support for the contention that there is something unusual, unnatural, or unprecedented about earth’s current warmth. Neither are there any real world data that confirm that floods, droughts, wildfires, or hurricanes are becoming either more frequent or more severe as a result of global warming. Nor is there any indication that the total mass of earth’s polar ice sheets is on the verge of declining any faster than the proverbial snail’s pace at which it has done so in the recent past. Nor is there any reason to believe that sea levels are about to rise precipitously and inundate the world’s coastal lowlands.” [94]

Heartland’s report was touted as a summary for policymakers, and featured a section on the benefits of fossil fuels to human prosperity, health, and the environment. Heartland claims that their data proves that “humans are not causing a climate crisis.” [94]

Video of the presentation, including Idso’s remarks beginning at 09:00, can be viewed on Heartland’s YouTube page:

February 4, 2018

In January 2018, more than 200 scientists endorsed an open letter calling on the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to remove climate change denier Rebekah Mercer from its board and to “end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation.” The New York Times reported that those among the AMNH letter calling for Mercer to step down were Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. [91]

Idso was among a group of climate change deniers who responded with their own open letter, calling for the AMNH “not to cave in to this pressure.” The letter was signed by numerous individuals with ties to groups funded by the Mercer Family Foundation such as Will Happer of the CO2 CoalitionRichard Lindzen, a fellow at the Cato InstituteIdso‘s Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. There are a number of signatories affiliated with the Heartland Institute, which has received over $5.78 million from the Mercer Family Foundation since 2008. [92]

The letter reads: [93]

The Earth has supported abundant life many times in the geological past when there were much higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is quite likely that future generations will benefit from the enrichment of Earth’s atmosphere with more carbon dioxide.

Make no mistake, the agitators are not defending science from quackery — quite the contrary!”

November 30, 2017

Idso spoke at the “At the Crossroads IV: Energy & Climate Policy Summit” co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation and Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). [90]

Highlighting Donald Trump’s “America First Energy Plan,” Idso argued that fighting CO2 emissions reductions was the “number one challenge” to keeping food costs low:

In today’s political climate, the number one challenge to keeping food and other agriculture-related costs low is arguably to withstand the efforts of those who would regulate the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere,” Idso said, adding “We are all aware of the fury and determination of those who seek to label and classify carbon dioxide or CO2 as a pollutant. Their end game, which they proudly promote, is to legislate hydrocarbon fuel usage into oblivion.”

Idso describes a carbon tax as “a horrible idea that will only adversely impact the agricultural sector.”

As long as the atmospheric CO2 concentration is allowed to continue to rise, and no actions are initiated to limit the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, countries should be able to produce enough food to feed their growing populations and they will reap tremendous economic benefits in doing so,” Idso claimed.

Idso said that “To global warming alarmists, the Earth has been in the throes of a veritable climate armageddon” listing concerns such as the three warmest decades on record, deforestation, forest fires, and dought—to all of these, Idso claims that “[the terrestrial biosphere] has suffered not at all. Increasing levels of atmosphere CO2 has actually helped overpower these and other growth-inhibiting influences in all but a few locales.”

November 9, 2017

Idso spoke at the Heartland Institute’s “America First Energy Conference” at the Marriott Hotel in Houston, Texas. He spoke on Panel 6A “Energy and Agriculture,” and his presentation was titled “Energy, Agriculture and Rising Atmospheric CO2.” [86]

The event description read as follows: [80]

At the America First Energy Conference, we plan to examine—one year and one day after Trump’s shocking Election Day victory—the following:

Where does Trump’s America First Energy Plan stand?

How much progress has been made in implementing it, and what remains to be done?

What scientific and economic evidence is there that the plan is putting the nation on the right path for economic growth, environmental protection, or both?” [80]

In a fundraising letter obtained by DeSmog, Fred Palmer had promoted the event as having the goal to “review the scientific and economic evidence that exposes the fraud inherent in the Obama-era regulation regime” while discussing “the overwhelming benefits of fossil fuels to us all.” [81]

Many of the other speakers have regularly spoken at the Heartland Institute’s past ICCCs. Notable speakers listed so far include Joe Bast, Fred PalmerRoger BezdekH. Sterling BurnettHal Doiron, Paul DriessenJohn Dale DunnMyron Ebell, Heartland’s new President Tim HuelskampCraig IdsoDavid LegatesJay LehrAnthony LupoRoss McKitrickSteve MilloyTodd MyersJohn Nothdurt, David Schnare, and numerous others. [82]

As reported at the Houston Chronicle, speakers notably included two Trump Administration officials: Richard W. Westerdale II of the State Department and Vincent DeVito of the Department of Interior. David Bernhardt, deputy secretary of the Interior Department, was also formerly listed as a Heartland conference speaker, but apparently withdrew. [87]

Scott Pruitt also addressed the conference in a recorded video, personally thanking Heartland for “what you’re doing to advance energy” and “for what you’re doing to advance natural resources. [88]

The Climate Investigations Center put up a parody of the America First Energy conference website, complete with profiles on the individual speakers and highlighting their corporate funding and ties to groups such as the Cooler Heads Coalition (CHC)[89]

October 12, 2017

Idso commented on President Donald Trump‘s appointment of Kathleen Hartnett-White as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), pending approval. Idso was quoted in a October 13 Heartland Institute newsletter: [83]

President Trump’s nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality further demonstrates his innate ability to draw the most qualified and highly respected talent into his administration. The United States will benefit from the leadership of Hartnett White. She has a well-established track record of addressing challenging environmental issues, and she has the requisite knowledge, capabilities, and management skills to restore integrity to an office that requires policy decisions be based on sound science. Congratulations to Kathleen Hartnett White, and congratulations to America!” Idso declared. [84]

Hartnett-White has a history of representing fossil fuel interests. During her tenure as chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), appointed by then-governor Rick Perry, the TCEQ was found to “not consistently ensure violators are held accountable.” According to a 2003 Texas State Audit, polluters “often have economic benefits that exceed their penalties, which could reduce their incentive to comply.” [85]

As head of the CEQ, Hartnett-White would be in charge of coordinating interagency science, climate, and environmental policy and oversee things such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process and agency compliance with that law. [83]

Though CEQ oversees the NEPA process, it remains unclear how seriously Hartnett-White will take the NEPA review process, for decades seen as a bedrock of U.S. environmental regulation since NEPA became law in 1970,” DeSmog’s Steve Horn reported[83]

May 8, 2017

Craig Idso, representing the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, is a signatory to an open letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him “to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.” [76]

DeSmog reported that the 40 groups represented in the letter, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, have received a combined total of millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, and other industry groups. [77]

Analysis also showed that the groups accepted about $80 million through Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust, two groups that have been confirmed is a key financial source for key U.S-based cliamate change denial groups. [78]


Craig Idso is listed as a contributor to the upcoming release of Climate Change: The Facts 2017, a book released by the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) and edited by Jennifer Marohasy. While investigating the authors, DeSmog noted that one of the IPA‘s listed “leading experts” involved in the book is New Zealand’s Ken Ring, who in addition to being a described “long range weather forecaster” has written “two, possibly three, books about cats” including Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat’s Paws in 1998. [73]

According to the book description[74]

Climate Change: The Facts 2017 brings together contributions on the latest climate science from some of the world’s leading experts in the field including John Abbot, Sallie Baliunas, Paul Driessen, Tony Heller, Craig Idso, Clive James, Pat Michaels, Jo Nova, Ian Plimer, Tom Quirk, Peter Ridd, Ken Ring, Nicola Scafetta, Willie Soon, Roy Spencer, and Anthony Watts.

There are also essays by Matt Ridley, and Bjørn Lomborg on the economics of climate change, and by Simon Breheny on how the freedom to discuss climate change science is under threat.” [74]

Prior versions of the book featured contributions from a range of prominent climate change deniers, and describes mainstream climate change research as “pseudo-science.” [75]

March 23, 2017

Craig Idso was a speaker on two panels at the Heartland Institute‘s 12th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC12). The first panel was (2A) was titled “Fossil Fuels and Human Prosperity.” The second (3B) was titled “Fossil Fuels and World Peace”. View both videos below. [72]

Panel 2A: Fossil Fuels and Human Prosperity

Panel 3B: Fossil Fuels and World Peace

February 24, 2017

Craig Idso was a speaker on a discussion panel sponsored by the CO2 Coalition at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  Tony Heller moderated the panel, and it also featured Kathleen Hartnett-White View video of the event at the Energy & Environment Legal Institute’s Facebook page. [70]

Idso’s presentation focused on “the biological benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment,” something that he described as “a vital message that we need to get out at all levels of the government today.” [70]

Talking about the IPCC, Idso said ,”They have all these predictions of climate catastrophe, but what it really boils down to is this. When you look at the data, the observed data, you find there is nothing unusual, unnatural, or unprecedented about Earth’s current climate. ” He added, “There is no compelling evidence to conclude that rising CO2 concentrations are heaving a measurable influence on climate.” [70]

According to idso, “The positive impacts of atmospheric CO2 enrichment remain largely under-appreciated or ignored in the debate over what to do or not do about rising CO2 concentrations in the future.” [70]

In my own studies, I have calculated that the benefits of CO2 on agriculture are so important that without them, world food supply will fall supply of world food demand by mid-century,” Idso said. [70]

Idso also claimed that the EPA had ignored his cliams. Responding to an audiene member, he  Idso said “All of this material was submitted to the EPA and much more.” He continued, “They go to models, and say that yes, models rule the day and that the models say it’s going to get too hot, and this and that, but actually it’s not […]. [70]

After going through several slides that seemed to closely resemble those of his previous presentations on the benefits of CO2, Idso concluded: [70]

“For far too long now, the political climate has pursued policies at the federal, state, and local level that besmirched and defamed the many virtues of this important and essential trace gas. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant; it is, in fact, the very elixir of life.” [70]

According to the CPAC Conference agenda (PDF), Idso also presented on a panel later that evening titled “The Benefits of Global Greening” where he was interviewed by Brietbart‘s James Delingpole. [71]

February 23, 2017

Craig Idso was a signatory of a petition (PDF) organized by Richard Lindzen of the Cato Institute urging President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the United Nations international convention on climate change (UNFCCC). [68]

In just a few weeks, more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world have signed the petition below,” Lindzen wrote in the letter. [68]

DeSmog investigated the list, and found that only a small handful of the signatories could be considered “even remotely ‘qualified’ or ‘eminent’ — but not in the field of climate science.” The list included individuals “interested in climate,” and one signatory who only identified as an “emailer who wished to sign the petition” while some signers provided no affiliation or address whatsoever. [69]

December 8, 2016

Craig Idso was a speaker at the “At the Crossroads III Energy and Climate Summit,” an event co-hosted by the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The event was billed as “the premier energy-and-climate policy event in America,” and attracted a range of prominent climate change deniers as well as a range of names connected to Donald Trump and his transition team. [65]

Doug Domenech, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s “Fueling Freedom” project, wrote about the proceedings at The HillDomenech outlined the common climate change denial message shared among the speakers: “Is climate change real? Yes, it has happened in the past and will happen in the future. Is man making an impact on the climate? Perhaps but in very small ways. But the overarching consensus remains the climate change we are experiencing is by no means catastrophic.” [66]

Video and choice quotes below:

For years, the U.S. government has held the position that atmospheric CO2 is a dangerous air pollutant that must be regulated to avoid the perils of global warming and climate change. I hope and trust that you also know that the scientific evidence supporting that position is tenuous at best and upheld primarily by inadequate and unvalidated computer model projections as opposed to real-world observations. This I know from having studied thousands of scientific papers on the topic.” [11:21]

There are three main benefits of atmospheric CO2. Higher atmospheric CO2 increases plant productivity. It also enhances plant water use efficiency and helps plants withstand and better endure various environmental and resource limitations and stresses.” [12:40]

As the atmospheric CO2 increases to six times above that of its current value, this extra food, if you will, induces a growth enhancement in most plants that reaches upwards of 160%. “ [13:39]

There really is probably no category of photosynthesizing plant that does not respond in a positive manner to atmospheric CO2 enrichment, and that is not likely to be benefited by the ongoing rise in the air CO2 content.” [17:44]

I’ve calculated that the benefits of CO2 on agriculture are so important that without them, world food supply will fall short of world food demand by mid-century.” [18:23]

If countries learn to identify which genotypes provided the largest yield increases per unit of CO2 rise and then grew them, it is quite possible we could collectively produce enough food to stave off these crippling food shortages that are expected to occur just a few short decades from now. Now, unfortunately, because the present government mindset views CO2 as a pollutant, research has progressed but little on this front.” [19:42]

There are several other benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment that we unfortunately don’t have the time to discuss. Benefits that the outgoing Obama administration has downplayed or ignored. It is my sincere hope the incoming Trump administration will recognize these truths, for truths they indeed are, and reverse course as is appropriate on federal policies that for far too long now have besmirched and defamed the many virtues of carbon dioxide. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant. It is the very elixir of life.“  [22:50]

Speakers included:

August 2016

Craig Idso is listed as a “Founding Member” of group named Climate Exit (Clexit) led by climate change denier Christopher Monckton. According to Clexit’s founding statement (PDF), “The world must abandon this suicidal Global Warming crusade. Man does not and cannot control the climate.” [61], [62]

Desmog reports on how the group grew in the wake of the UK‘s decision to leave the EU. A key member of Clexit’s “60 well-informed science, business and economic leaders” is Hugh Morgan, a former board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia and former CEO of Western Mining Corporation with close ties to Australia’s Liberal party. [63][64]

According to Clexit’s founding statement

If the Paris climate accord is ratified, or enforced locally by compliant governments, it will strangle the leading economies of the world with pointless carbon taxes and costly climate and energy policies, all with no sound basis in evidence or science […]” [62]

July 2016

Craig Idso responded to comments that Senator Ed Markey made on the Senate floor as part of the 2016 #WebOfDenial push. Markey had noted that the oceans are 30 percent more acidic today than they were before we started burning coal, a statement confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [59]

Idso’s response was as follows, as reported in an article by Tom Harris and Tim Ball: [60]

“Projected future decline [in pH, a measure of a substance’s acidity] is based on a theoretical postulation by models based on absorption of CO2 by the oceans. Regardless, there really is no such thing as a representative pH for the whole ocean. It varies vastly near the coast and in upwelling regions, much more than the projected pH decline.” [60]

May 18, 2016

Craig Idso was a signatory to a full page color advertisement in The New York Times titled “Abuse of Power” (PDF) sponsored by The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).  The ad serves as an open letter from 43 signatories including organizations and individuals in response to  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and the coalition of Attorneys General investigating groups denying man-made climate change[30][31]

Attempts to intimidate CEI and our allies and silence our policy research are unconstitutional,” said CEI president Kent Lassman. “The First Amendment protects us and everyone has a duty to respect it – even state attorneys general.  CEI will continue to fight for all Americans to support the causes in which they believe.” [30]

The Competitive Enterprise Institute received a subpoena from AG Walker on April 7, 2016. On April 20, CEI filed an objection to the subpoena calling it “offensive,” “un-American,” and “unlawful,” and are contending that AG Walker is “violating CEI’s First Amendment rights.”  [30]

The “freedom of speech” argument was echoed by ExxonMobil’s legal team, as well as numerous other conservative groups including the Pacific Legal Foundation, and Heritage Foundation and the recently-formed Free Speech in Science Project, a group created by the same lawyers who defended the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the past. [32]

The CEI letter lists the following signatories:

March 29, 2016

Craig Idso was a featured speaker at a conference titled “The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 Is Good for the Earth” hosted by the CO2 Coalition and The New Criterion in New York City. [29]

According to the event description, “Members of the CO2 Coalition and  many other experts argue that carbon dioxide enrichment of the atmosphere provides manifold benefits for humanity. And observed surface warmings are much smaller than predicted by climate models.  Economic models that fail to include the benefits  of CO2 and the serious exaggerations of climate models  and are being used to advocate ‘cures’ that are much worse than the non-existent disease.” [29]

Videos of the conference are available at The New Criterion’s YouTube page. Featured speakers listed at the event included the following: [29]

December 14, 2015

Craig D. Idso wrote an article in the Washington Examiner titled “The Irrational Legacy of COP21.” According to idso, “One of the most bizarre claims to come out of the conference is the assertion that global temperatures must be kept from rising a mere seventy five-hundredths of a degree Celsius (0.75°C) above present day values […]” [51]

According to Idso, “Such a claim is preposterous. It exists only in the deranged output of computer model projections that are derived from the most extreme and frenzied future scenarios.” [51]

He calls COP21 “laughable” because “In their view, carbon dioxide is a perilous ‘pollutant’.” Rather, Idso describes CO2 as a “well-known aerial fertilizer” and that “rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are providing a multitude of benefits to the biosphere.” [51]

November 30, 2015

Craig Idso is a co-author of a Heartland Institute/NIPCC book titled Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming: The NIPCC Report on Consensus. The book was timed for release on the first day of the United Nations’ twenty first conference of the parties (COP21) in Paris. 

According to the the Heartland Institute press release, The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change’s book, “emphatically rejects claims of a ‘scientific consensus’ on the causes and consequences of climate change.”  [26]

Contrary to the book’s premise, multiple studies and surveys have shown that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the past century are due to human activities (NASA for example). [27]

Other authors include S. Fred Singer of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and Bob Carter of the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA). The NIPCC itself is sponsored by the CSCDGCSEPP, and The Heartland Institute.  [26]

CSDGCIPA, and SEPP are all secretive about their funding sources. Still, available data at ExxonSecrets and the Conservative Transparency Project show they have received funding from ExxonMobilDonors Capital FundScaife, and Koch-related Foundations.

June 11–12, 2015

Craig Idso was a speaker on Panel 9: “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Human Welfare, Energy, and Policies,” at the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, D.C., with S. Fred Singer, Bob Carter, and Christopher Monckton. [23]

View Craig Idso’s Panel 9 presentation at the Heartland Institute’s ICCC10, below: [24]

December 2014

As reported at Alec’s Climate Change Denial, Craig Idso spoke at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) event, where he notably said that “CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a benefit. It is the very elixer of life.” [19]

This is a sentiment Craig Idso also shared in a September, 2014 article republished by the CATO institute titled “Mr. President, Co2 Is Not Pullition, It’s the Elixer of Life.” [20], as well as on his website CO2 Science in an article he titles “The Deceit of Sustainability.” [21]

InsideClimate News reports Idso as saying that carbon-reduction policies are  “are unnecessary, unwise, and unwarranted,” during his time on stage at the ALEC conference.  “Instead of being shunned like the plague, the ongoing rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide should be welcomed with opened arms,” Idso also said. [22]

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, “Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line.” 

October 9, 2014

Craig Idso is quoted in the Heartland Institute‘s press release, “Heartland Institute Climate Experts Comment on 18 Straight Years of No Global Warming,” which states “the global mean surface temperature has not risen for 18 consecutive years. This extends the so-called ‘pause’ in global warming to a new record, one not predicted by the climate models of the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” [18] Idso writes:

To the world’s climate alarmists, atmospheric carbon dioxide is a dangerous trace gas, and for years, they have been insisting its increase will raise global temperatures and wreak havoc upon Earth’s climate and biosphere. Yet, despite a 9 percent increase in CO2 over the past 18 years, there has been no rise in global temperature. Think about that. Over this time period the air’s CO2 content has risen some 40 parts per million, which represents fully one-third the total global CO2 increase since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, yet contrary to model projections, planetary temperatures have failed to rise.

It’s time for global warming die-hards to face the facts. Stop denying the models have got global temperature projections wrong. Stop denying CO2 has a lower climate sensitivity than you have been claiming. Stop denying the societal benefits of continued fossil fuel use. It’s not too late to make a course correction and support sound science.” [18]

July 7–9, 2014

Craig Idso was a speaker at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. [17]

DeSmogBlog has done in-depth research on the other speakers and sponsors from Heartland’s ICCC9, which can be found here.

Idso said “There is no dangerous human influence on Earth’s climate from a rise in CO2.” [53]

March 2014

Idso is a lead author of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change’s (NIPCC) report entitled, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, published by the Heartland Institute on March 31, 2014. Other lead authors include prominent deniers, Sherwood Idso and S. Fred Singer. [14]

The NIPCC report, contrary to the prestigious IPCC‘s report, found that climate change will be good for the world, and will have net benefits for both plants and human health. [16]

May 21–23, 2012

Craig Idso was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s 7th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

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 conservative Scaife family foundations.

September 2011

Craig Idso is a lead author of the 2011 Interim Report (PDF) of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), published by the Heartland Institute. [5]

Other lead authors include prominent climate skeptics Robert M. Carter and S. Fred Singer. Other contributors included Joseph D‘Aleo, Indur Goklany, Sherwood Idso, Madhav Khandekar, Anthony Lupo, Willie Soon, and Mitch Taylor. [5]

August 2011

According to SourceWatch, Idso was a featured speaker at the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting, speaking at a workshop initially titled “Warming Up to Climate Change: The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2” but which was renamed “Benefit Analysis of CO2[6]

He was joined by fellow climate skeptics Roger Helmer and Robert Ferguson. The workshop was hosted by ALEC‘s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.

June 2011

Spoke at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change. His speech was titled “Co2-Induced Global Warming: Is the IPCC Presenting an Honest Assessment of the Evidence?” [7]

May 27, 2011

Craig Idso was one of fourteen Amici, described as “well-qualified climate scientists,” who claimed that the “EPA‘s endangerment finding is not ‘rational’ and therefore arbitrary and capricious.”[56]

According to the petitioners, representing the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc.:  [56]

“[T]he Earth’s climate is not changing in an unusual or anomalous fashion. The EPA relied on instrumental data that were adjusted to exaggerate the increase in global temperatures.” [56]

Petitioners listed were:

May, 2010

Spoke at the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International conference on Climate Change. His speech was titled “Quantifying the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Organisms.” [7]

June 2, 2009

Craig Idso was a leading author of the first Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report, titled “Climate Change Reconsidered” (PDF), published by the Heartland Institute. His co-author was climate skeptic Fred Singer.

Contributors included numerous other prominent climate change skeptics: [8]

March 30, 2009

Idso’s signature is displayed alongside a full-page ad funded by the CATO institute that appeared in numerous newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune in 2009.

The advertisement criticizes President Obama’s declaration that “few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change,” saying that “with all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.” It goes on to describe how “there has been no net global warming for over a decade,” and that the dangers of global warming are “grossly overstated.” [12]

March, 2009

Spoke at the Heartland Institute’s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change.  His speech was titled “Carbon Dioxide, Global Warming and Coral Reefs: Prospects and the Future.” [7]

November, 2003

Co-authored a report entitled “Enhanced or Impaired? Human Health in a CO2-Enriched Warmer World” (PDF) with his father Sherwood Idso and brother Keith Idso.

The report argues that global warming and an increase in atmospheric CO2 would be a boon to humanity.


As of 2013 (see PDF), Craig Idso had an email address associated with [33]

The now-defunct website appeared to have been a project of Frank Clemente and Mark P. Mills. The website focuses on the benefits of fossil fuels, especially coal. For example, an archived version of Clemente’s website describes coal as “the path out of poverty” for Southeast Asia and developing countries. [34]


*The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global change responded to the question of whether they were funded by the Western Fuels Association as follows:

“In spite of what you think, you could be wrong.  But as we do not divulge this information, you may also continue to think that you are right.  In either case, we are not inclined to confirm or deny your conclusion…”

Social Media


Idso has published three documentaries with the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: Carbon Dioxide and the Climate Crisis: Reality or Illusion?, Carbon Dioxide and the Climate Crisis: Avoiding Plant and Animal Extinctions, and Carbon Dioxide and the Climate Crisis: Doing the Right Thing.

Sample publications include:

Idso has also published many of his articles on skeptical science blogs including Climate Realists as well as Patrick J. Michaels‘ World Climate Report (sample articles here and here). [54], [55]

Other Studies

StudyStudy DateAuthor(s)Sample Media Mentions & CitationsStudy Conclusion
Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change,” Forest Ecology and Management2016-03-01Craig Loehle, Craig Idso, T. Bently Wigley
  • “We found that trees are tolerant of rising temperatures and have responded to rising carbon dioxide.
  • No long-term trends in US drought have been found in the literature.
  • CO2 tends to inhibit forest pests and pathogens.
  • Projections of forest response to climate change are highly variable.”
Craig D. Idso. “Stewardship and Sustainable Development in a World of Rising Atmospheric CO2: A Biblical Perspective on Humanity’s Relationship to the Biosphere” Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change2015-07-10Craig D. Idso
“Indeed, even now, we may already be unknowing participants in the great plan, as our burning of
fossil fuels releases long-sequestered carbon to the atmosphere, awakening earth’s plant life from
the lethargy of the low CO2 concentrations under which it has basically slumbered throughout
the entire history of man. Let us deeply consider these matters—even prayerfully—before we
put forth our arm to steady the ark of God. He is clearly capable of doing His own work.”
Urban CO2 Dome (Phoenix, Arizona, USA),” Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change1998Craig D. Idso “With respect to its influence on vegetation, the urban CO2 dome likely enhances the robustness of urban vegetation, given the well-documented fact that atmospheric CO2 enrichment tends to enhance plant growth rates and increase the efficiencies with which plants utilize water to produce organic matter.”


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