European Climate Realist Network

European Climate Realist Network


The European Climate Realist Network (ECRN) is a Dutch-based informal umbrella group for organisations across Europe that see themselves as “climate realists”. [1]

The network “facilitates communication” between these groups with the aim to “strengthen the European climate realist movement, and influence climate and energy policy on both national levels and on EU level.” [1]

Its website describes climate realists as agreeing on seven different points including that “the IPCC overplays the role of greenhouse gases and underplays the role of other processes,” and that “climate models still have far too many shortcomings to use them as the major foundation for climate policy.” [1]

ECRN was founded in 2018 during a climate science denial conference in Portugal by industrial designer and engineer Theo Wolters. [2], [3]

The network comprises member organisations from nine countries, including well-known climate denial organizations like the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, the Irish Climate Science Forum, and the Dutch climate denial group CLINTEL. [4], [5], [6]

Stance on Climate Change

On its website, however, the ECRN provides a list of what climate realists believe: [1]

  1. That climate changes on all time scales.
  2. That it is unknown what percentage of the warming in the past century is due to greenhouse gases.
  3. That there is no a priori reason to assume that the current and expected warming will have negative consequences.
  4. That the IPCC overplays the role of greenhouse gases and underplays the role of other processes, like natural variability and solar or planetary influences.
  5. That climate models still have far too many shortcomings to use them as the major foundation for climate policy.
  6. That current climate policies will probably do more harm than good to society.
  7. That the climate debate has been far too politicized for a long time, and that a much more open scientific debate is badly needed.

Besides these statements, the group claims it “does not take a stand” in the climate debate and describes itself as “a network, allowing and welcoming a variety of opinions in its member organisations.” [1]


The ECRN is an established charity in the Netherlands and receives donations from supporters. [7]

Donations are directed to Stichting Milieu Wetenschap & Beleid (the Environment, Science and Policy Foundation), which is “committed to promoting independent journalism and science” [translation]. Its website states that this is done largely through “financial support, or by organising or supporting a good public debate” [translation] . [7], [8]

A number of ECRN’s member organisations have also received financial support from wealthy donors, including the GWPF, a UK climate science denial campaign group, funded in part by Lord Nigel Vinson, Michael Hintze, and Neil Record – all three have similarly donated large amounts of money to the UK Conservative Party. CLINTEL, a Dutch group who is listed as a member organisation, also receives large donations from wealthy individuals, including real estate millionaire Niek Sandmann.

It is not known whether the finances of member organisations subsequently fund the ECRN.

Key People

Theo Wolters is the founder and chairman of the ECRN. He also runs a number of other climate research groups in Europe including ScienceTalks.NL, a site for discussing “new hypotheses on climate science” and, a project he developed with journalist Marcel Crok. He also answers climate science questions on American question-and-answer website Quora, despite having an academic background in industrial design and engineering. [3], [9], [10]

ECRN lists four other individuals – representatives of four of the network’s member organisations – as part of its team. They are: [1]

Jim O’Brien: chair and co-founder of the Irish Climate Science Forum, an organisation that claims climate science is “not yet settled” and that “solar-related and other natural influences on earth’s climate” may be greater than greenhouse gases. O’Brien works as a corporate social responsibility and energy consultant and is an honorary president of UEPG, a Europe-wide trade association for the aggregates industry. His academic background is in electrical engineering. [11], [12]

Benny Peiser: director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the UK’s most prominent climate science denial group. He was previously a senior lecturer in social anthropology and sport sociology. [13]

Benoit Rittaud: chairman of France’s Association des climato-réalistes (Association of Climate Realists). He is a mathematician, author of the Climatic Myth, and one of CLINTEL’s ambassadors. [14], [15]

Morten Jødal: chairman of Norway’s Klimarealistene (Climate Realists). He has previously been listed as a “Contributing Author/Reviewer” for the Heartland Institute’s“Climate Change Reconsidered” programme, which rejects the research of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and is a CLINTEL ambassador. [16]


November 28, 2019

The ECRN welcomed the votes of 225 MEPs who rejected a motion to declare a climate emergency in the European Parliament. Despite the ECRN’s celebrations, the resolution was adopted with a majority of 429 votes “for”. [17]

Wolters wrote: [17]

In light of our call yesterday for MEPs to vote against the climate emergency declaration, this is an encouraging sign that unquestioning climate alarm is beginning to be seriously challenged.” [17]

November 27, 2019

The ECRN published a press release calling for MEPs to “reject a motion to announce a ‘climate emergency’.” [18]

Wolters wrote: [18]

The European Climate Realist Network (ECRN) is concerned that unjustified panic and alarm could pressure MEPs into supporting costly policies that will hurt European families, businesses and Europe’s economic stability and competitiveness.


A rejection of the ‘Climate Emergency’ motion by MEPs would send out a clear message that the European Parliament is no longer willing to follow unilateral virtue signalling. Europe has far more important issues to address.” [18]

October 29, 2019

Speaking to Yale Environment 360, Wolters said: [19]

This whole framing has been going on for 20 years now, [that] the end of the planet is near… The simple people, the uneducated people, they are fed up with it, they don’t believe it anymore.” [19]

September 2018

The ECRN was informally set up during a meeting at a climate science denial conference in Porto, Portugal. [2], [3]

The event, called “Basic science of a changing climate,” was sponsored by the Independent Committee on Geoethics[2], [20]

A number of prominent climate science deniers spoke at the event including Piers Corbyn, Christopher Monckton, and Philip Foster. [21]

ECRN lists 13 “climate realist member” organisations on its website: [1]

Contact & Address

Email: ECR[email protected]

The ECRN does not list an address on its website other than for the Environment, Science and Policy Foundation in Amsterdam, to which donations are directed. [7]

Social Media


  1. About the European Climate Realist Network (ECRN),” ECRN. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  2. Chloe Farand. “Santander Forced To Distance Itself From Climate Science Denial Conference,” DeSmog UK, September 4, 2018
  3. Introduction Climate,” Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  4. United Kingdom,” ECRN. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  5. Ireland,” ECRN. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  6. The Netherlands,” ECRN. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  7. Donation,” ECRN. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  8. Stichting Milieu, Wetenschap en Beleid,” Stichting Milieu, Wetenschap en Beleid. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  9. Theo Wolters,” Quora. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  10. Introduction Technology,” Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  11. Welcome to the Irish Climate Science Forum,” Irish Climate Science Forum. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  12. Jim O’Brien CSR Consulting,” Jim O’Brien CSR Consulting. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  13. Staff Profiles: Dr Benny Peiser – Senior Lecturer,” Liverpool John Moores University. Archived July 17, 2010. URL:
  14. Benoît Rittaud interviewé par AGEFI Luxembourg,” Association des Climato-Realistes. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  15. Climate, Science, and the Loathing of the Unpredictable,” Paris Innovation Review, August 31, 2010. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  16. Om Oss,” Klimarealistene. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  17. Theo Wolters. “EU Consensus Broken as 225 MEPs Vote Against ‘Climate Emergency’,” ECRN, November 28, 2019. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  18. Theo Wolters. “European Groups Call On MEPs To Reject ‘Climate Emergency’ Vote,” ECRN, November 27, 2019. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  19. Beth Gardiner. “For Europe’s Far-Right Parties, Climate Is a New Battleground,” Yale Environment 360, October 29, 2019. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  20. Basic Science of a Changing Climate,” Porto Conference 2018. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:
  21. Program,” Porto Conference 2018. Archived August 27, 2020. URL:

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