David Rothbard

David Rothbard (Deceased)


  •  Graduate of Fairfield University in Connecticut, with a degree in political science. [1]


David Rothbard co-founded the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) with Craig Rucker in 1985 and served as chairman and president. Rothbard passed away on March 30, 2018 after a long illness. [27]

When founding CFACT, Rothbard and Rucker approached the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) in 1989 to request “corporate involvement and support.” According to CMA documents, CFACT was established to “fight the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) and Ralph Nader-type organizations.” [1][2]

According to his CFACT profile, Rothbard “testified before Congress and various state legislatures; is a regular speaker on college campuses and at policy gatherings in the U.S. and around the world; and has led delegations to numerous UN environmental summits” while serving as CFACT chairman and president. [1]

CFACT believes the Earth has not warmed in over 18 years and that “slightly higher atmospheric CO2 levels cannot possibly supplant the numerous complex and inter-connected forces that have always determined Earth’s climate.” CFACT has received more than $7 million in funding from the secretive DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, as well as over $400,000 from ExxonMobil. [3], [4]

Rothbard co-hosted the CFACT radio commentary program “Just the Facts” that aired since 1993 with the stated purpose of “educating the public” and to “explain the relevance of science to everyday life and its impact on public policy.” [5]

Stance on Climate Change

December 8, 2015

Rothbard and Craig Rucker co-wrote an article at The Washington Times, declaring: [6]

“Our planet and humankind have been challenged by climate change and extreme weather throughout history. The sun’s changing energy output and other natural forces have brought little ice ages, floods, droughts, powerful storms, and periods of prolonged warmth and bounteous harvests.

“To assert that natural forces no longer play a role, that fossil fuel emissions now control climate change, or that humans can now determine planetary temperatures and climate by regulating atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels is sheer hubris. To say we should abandon the hydrocarbon energy that has brought technology, prosperity, health and longevity to billions is sheer insanity.” [6]

February 7, 2015

Rothard promoted the idea of a “warming pause”: [7]

“There was nothing special about the temperature of the Earth in 2014.  In fact, there has been no meaningful warming since last century.”

Key Quotes

May 2, 2016

Promoting Marc Morano‘s film, Climate Hustle, Rothbard said: [8]

“An opportunity to bring people together to debunk a propaganda campaign as massive as ‘climate change’ is rare and special.”

November 13, 2013

In an article promoting the Heartland Institute‘s NIPCC report, Rothbard said: [9]

“In reality, the climate and weather events, trends and cycles of recent years are essentially the same as humans have been dealing with for centuries. There is no evidence that we face imminent catastrophic man-made climate change.”

Key Deeds

April 3, 2018

Rothbard co-wrote an Op-Ed with Craig Rucker  in the Reno Gazette Journal where they criticized electric cars and renewable energy. The Op-Ed was published on April 3, 2018, the same day Rothbard passed away. [28]

“There may be hidden costs in the pursuit of ‘clean energy,’ and they may affect consumers more than expected,” the Rucker and Rothbard wrote in the opinion piece, pointing the finger at California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate.  [28]

“Realistically, the ZEV mandate means cash-strapped consumers in heartland America will be paying more to buy a conventional car,” they wrote. “If ZEV mandates increase, more Americans could be compelled to purchase electric cars — or face escalating auto prices. That could mean even middle class Americans struggling to afford a car. But that might well be the grand intention of those pushing so hard for electric cars — to simply price conventional automobiles out of reach for everyday Americans.”  [28]

September 28, 2017

In a fundraising letter obtained by Greenpeace, Rothbard calls on readers to help fund CFACT‘s program to influence students in American schools and colleges. The document also featured an introduction by John Coleman[10]

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow CFACT (Text)

“I write to you today to ask for your support of CFACT,” Rothbard wrote. “Our plans are urgent. A new school year is now underway. Together, we must make sure CFACT‘s programs – especially designed to push back against Green indoctrination in America ‘s classrooms – are fully funded and ready to immediately counteract Left-wing climate alarmism in classrooms and on campuses across America.” [10]

The letter cited so-called “climate indoctrination” in modern classrooms. “To make matters worse, our tax dollars are being used to indoctrinate America’s children – and shut out any views that challenge climate alarm orthodoxy,” Rothbard wrote. [10]

He cited examples of this “indoctrination” as materials distributed by Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation, and NASA[10] 

“Confronting the Green Left’s massive indoctrination effort aimed at our young people is almost certainly the hardest challenge we have ever faced at CFACT,” Rothbard added, going on to cite some “victories” for “the climate realist community”: [10] 

“For example, as you know. President Trump has committed to pulling the United States out of the ill-conceived Paris climate accord. The White House has also scrubbed climate alarm propaganda from government websites. This is good news!

“Further, federal programs designed to fund climate alarmism have been frozen and are under review. And Barack Obama’s job-killing and economy disrupting ‘Clean Power Plan’ has effectively been cancelled.” [10]

However, Rothbard lamented that “these victories are only temporary setbacks to the climate agenda.” [10]

It is an agenda that claims to be about ‘climate’ and ‘science’ … but consistently favors an ideology of socialism and collectivism over capitalism. An agenda demanding a massive transfer of wealth from ‘rich nations’ to ‘poor nations.’ 

“And it’s an agenda demanding a headlong rush into expensive and unreliable ‘renewable energy.’ An agenda of ‘carbon taxes’ and what amounts to “carbon indulgences” that punish the poor and middle class while enriching Green millionaires and billionaires.

“Theirs is – I believe – an agenda with an ultimate goal of drastically reducing the human population around the world.”

Rothbard proposed a multi-part plan to fight back against the “Green Left agenda” of “indoctrinating our children and grandchildren in the schools with their radical Green, climate alarmist dogma.”

This includes a study to determine what children are being taught in schools, with an estimated cost of $35,000. The second part of the CFACT plan is to identify and “expose these worst offenders through every means at our disposal. This includes our widely read Climate Depot news and information service, our “Just the Facts” daily national radio commentary, and more.” [10]

“The third part of our plan is a public policy solution.” This solution being to sway school boards to inject climate change denial into their courses, based on what Rothbard describes as a successful CFACT effort in West Virginia, which he hopes to “serve as a model for similar programs in other states.” [10]

The fourth part is to “go around the in-classroom indoctrination and open our own communication channel to students outside of school” — targeting students through YouTube and other social media. 

“We have plans to dramatically expand our social media presence, especially to young people,” Rothbard noted, also pointing to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch. “That’s where they [young people] go for news and information and that’s where we will be, too!” [10]

The fifth part of Rothbard’s plan is to spread the CFACT Collegian’s program, which already has chapters at 44 colleges and universities. “CFACT Collegians is the only program in America solely dedicated to confronting global warming hysteria and other misinformation spewed by the radical environmentalists in America’s colleges and universities.” [10]

July 2017

Rothbard accompanied climate change denier Marc Morano and CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker to an Australian screening of Morano’s film, Climate Hustle. Before the film’s Australian debut, Climate scientist Professor Will Steffen reviewed portions of the film for DeSmog. [11]

Steffen is an emeritus professor at Australian National University and a member of the not-for-profit Climate Council. He said: “This is just the usual rubbish from the usual suspects – a re-hash of misleading and downright incorrect arguments that denialists have trotted out for a long time.” [11]

Reviewing a section that downplays the role of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, Steffen noted it “misrepresents how the carbon cycle works” by ignoring how oceans and land absorb CO2 – a very basic and well-known mechanism in the carbon cycle. [11]

Steffen added: “What the film didn’t say is that both oxygen and nitrogen, which comprise about 99 per cent of the atmospheric gases, are transparent to UV, visible and heat radiation. They don’t play a role in the energy balance at the Earth’s surface.” [11]

Dr. Andrew King, a climate scientist at Monash University in Melbourne, also had an opportunity to look at the film. He described the section on carbon dioxide’s role as “muddled.”

 “Whilst there are certainly other potential drivers of changes in the climate we know that over the last century we have greatly increased the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and, through detection and attribution analyses, we know that the rising levels of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases have driven the rise in global temperature,” King said. “Changes in other potential drivers, like solar activity, simply can’t explain the 1C rise in global temperature we have observed.” [11]

Climate denial blogger JoNova also listed some groups involved in organizing the trip included the Galileo Movement (once managed by former One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts), the Australian Environment Foundation, the Australian Tax Payers Alliance, and the Australian Institute for Progress. [12]

July 12, 2016

Rothbard was a signatory to a “Coalition” open letter pushing back against what the Heartland Institute describes as an “affront to free speech.” The groups were responding to the recent Web of Denial Resolution brought up in the Senate, calling out fossil fuel industry-funded groups denying climate change. [13]

According to the Climate Investigations Center, all but one of the open letter’s signatory organizations have taken money (totaling at least $92 million since 1997) from the “climate denial web” including Koch Brothers’ various foundationsExxonMobil, and two “dark money” organizations, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. [14]

May 18, 2016

Rothbard 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[15][16]

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.” [15]

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.”  [15]

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. [17]

The CEI letter lists the following signatories:

August 5, 2014

Rothbard spoke at a CFACT event titled “How to Think and Talk about Climate and Energy Issues” that was held as part of the 41st annual national meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). [18]

“I was privileged to moderate the workshop that included CFACT senior policy analyst Paul Driessen; publisher and editor of ClimateDepot.com Marc Morano; and former national field director for CFACT’s Collegians campus program Robert Harrelson.,” Rothbard wrote at the CFACT blog.

November 2013

Rothbard spoke at an event in Poland co-sponsored by CFACT and the Institute for Globalization, Solidarity, and Polityka Narodowa, among others. The event was to coincide with the official UN Conference of the Parties (COP) 19 in Warsaw, Poland.[19]

According to the CFACT blog post, “David Rothbard took dead aim at the shoddy science the UN has relied on to support its claims of impending climate catastrophe. He pointed out that severe weather events such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels have been greatly exaggerated, and that virtually all climate models failed to account for the flat line in world temperatures over the last 17 years. Rothbard finished his remarks by leveling strong criticism at the proposed UN treaty for the crushing economic impacts it will impose on working people and the poor.” [19]

July 12–14, 2001

Rothbard was a speaker at the “Freedom 21” national conference in St. Louis. Sponsors included the American Policy Center, Sovereignty International, Liberty Matters, Eagle Forum, Environmental Conservation Organization, and the Heartland Institute[20]

May 2000

Rothbard has been described as “a driving force behind the Cornwall Declaration,” a document crafted by the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation (formerly the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, before adopting the name of their landmark document). [20]

Some of the key points of the Cornwall Declaration include: [21]

1. Humans are “producers and stewards” of the environment, and should not be viewed as “consumers and polluters” because “the application of human and material capital are integral to environmental improvement.”

2. It is “human stewardship that unlocks the potential in creation for all the earth’s inhabitants as good.”

3. Some environmental concerns are “without foundation or greatly exaggerated.” Examples of unfounded concerns “include fears of destructive manmade global warming, overpopulation, and rampant species loss.”

April 1998

In 1998, Rothbard was listed among members of the “Global Climate Science Communications Team,” a group led by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to develop a 1998 Global Climate Science Communications PlanThe New York Times described the GCSCT as “An informal group of people working for big oil companies, trade associations and conservative policy research organizations” who oppose a treaty to fight global warming. [22]

The following is taken from the 1998 memo by the API describing the plan: (See full memo here). [23]

“Victory Will Be Achieved When

“Average citizens ‘understand’ (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
Media ‘understands’ (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent science appears to be out of touch with reality.

“Current Reality

Unless ‘climate change’ becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initiatives to thwart the threat of climate change, there may be no moment when we can declare victory for our efforts. It will be necessary to establish measurements for the science effort to track progress toward achieving the goal and strategic success.”

Writing at The Guardian, Graham Readfearn also followed up on where many of the lobbyists listed in the original GCSC are today. [24]


Social Media


Rothbard has been “a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows, and his work has been printed or critiqued in such publications as Newsweek, the Houston Chronicle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington Times, and The Wall Street Journal,” his CFACT profile notes. [1]

Rothbard has also been a regular contributor at CFACT‘s website. Below are some sample articles or videos related to climate change: [26]


  1. CFACT Staff,” Cfact. Archived October 13, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/J9sPD
  2. Chemical Manufacturers Association Minutes,” Chemical Industry Archives, March 16, 1989. Archived March 14, 2015.
  3. Climate Truth File 2016” (PDF)CFACT, October 4, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  4. Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed May 1, 2017. Data on file at DeSmog.
  5. Just the Facts Radio,” CFACT. Archived December 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ovM5B
  6. David Rothbard and Craig Rucker. “Measuring the climate models and hype,” The Washington Times, December 8, 2015. Archived October 13, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zyfT7
  7. David Rothbard. “Satellites: Warming pause continues & 2014 not the hottest,” CFACT, February 7, 2015. Archived December 22, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/2OBGz
  8. Tonight’s the night! ‘Climate Hustle’ Monday May 2nd,” CFACT, May 2, 2016. Archived October 13, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Supnk
  9. David Rothbard. “Pressing ahead on climate salvation,” CFACT, November 13, 2013. Archived December 22, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/42pvA
  10. Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow CFACT Weather Channel Mailer 2017-09-28,” DocumentCloud.
  11. Graham Readfearn. “Notorious Climate Science Denier Marc Morano Flying to Australia With Misleading Climate Hustle Movie,” DeSmog, July 6, 2017.
  12. Finally, see ‘Climate Hustle’ in Australia — Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney.” JoNova, June 27, 2017. Archived July 7, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/nvByX
  13. Jim Lakely. “#WebOfDenial Push by Senate Dems Exposes Their Hatred of Free Speech,” Somewhat Reasonable (Heartland Institute Blog), July 12, 2016. Archived July 14, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/eFCkh
  14. Cindy Baxter. “Front Groups Attacking #WebofDenial Senate Action Took Over $92M in Dark, Dirty Money,” Desmog, July 14, 2016. Originally posted at Climate Investigations Center.
  15. CEI Runs “Abuse of Power” Ad In New York Times,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016
  16. Abuse of Power: All Americans have the right to support causes they believe in” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  17. Steve Horn. “Exxon’s Lawyer in Climate Science Probe Has History Helping Big Tobacco and NFL Defend Against Health Claims,” DeSmogBlog, May 10, 2016.
  18. David Rothbard. “CFACT climate and energy workshop for legislators,” CFACT, August 5, 2014. Archived December 22, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/84zKJ
  19. Europeans sign Warsaw Declaration: want no part of UN climate treaty,” CFACT, November 11, 2013. Archived January 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/pTDJs
  20. Conference Speakers,” Freedom 21 National Conference. Archived July 12, 2003. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/MndDD
  21. The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship,” The Cornwall Alliance. Archived July 22, 2015. 
  22. John H. Cushman Jr. “INDUSTRIAL GROUP PLANS TO BATTLE CLIMATE TREATY,” The New York Times, April 26, 1998. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2fL08
  23. Global warming: The campaign by the American Petroleum Institute,” e_wesker. Archived May 30, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/RwqPQ
  24. Graham Readfearn. “What happened to the lobbyists who tried to reshape the US view of climate change?The Guardian, February 27, 2015. Archived December 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/dle2k
  25. AUTHORS: David Rothbard,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Archived December 20, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5bUSW
  26. David Rothbard: Author Archives,” CFACT. Accessed October 13, 2017.
  27. Reflections on David Rothbard, 1964-2018,” CFACT, April 3, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/KCqVs
  28. Is your neighbor’s Tesla costing you money?: Rothbard, Rucker,” Reno Gazette Journal, April 3, 2018. Archived April 15, 2018.

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