Philip Stott

Philip Stott


  • BA (London)*

*Philip Stott’s archived faculty profile at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies does not specify at which London school he received his bachelors degree, or what his major was.1Professor Philip Stott,” SOAS University of London. Archived January 19, 2004. In Stott’s acknowledgements for his 1981 book, Historical Plant Geography, he mentions his “former teacher,” Dr. Francis Rose of the Department of Geography at King’s College, London. DeSmog sent emails to SOAS and King’s College London requesting details on Stott’s credentials and received no response.2Philip Stott. Historical Plant Geography: An Introduction (2020). New York, NY. Routledge, 2020. Note: First published in 1981 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.


Philip Stott is a former professor of biogeography at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)3Professor Philip Stott,” SOAS University of London. Archived January 19, 2004. , described in 2003 by the New Stateman as “Britain’s leading climate-change denier.” The New Statesman reported that Stott “has built a career on criticising environmentalists” even though “he has no climate-science qualifications.”4George Marshall and Mark Lynas. “Why we don’t give a damn,” The New Statesman, December 1, 2003. Archived August 4, 2008. Archive URL:

According to DeSmog’s research, from 2011-2017 Philip Stott was member of the Academic Advisory Council of the The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a UK-based climate denial think tank.

The GWPF in 2020 described Philip Stott as “Professor Emeritus of Biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.” 5Academic Advisory Council: Professor Philip Stott,” Global Warming Policy Foundation, November 9, 2020. Archived September 27, 2021. Archive URL:

Stott formerly ran the blog EnviroSpin Watch 6Philip’s New Blog,” EnviroSpin Watch, October 14, 2007. Archived August 15, 2021. Archive URL: and later Global Warming Politics: A Hot Topic Blog. He also ran the website “ProBIOTECH – The Real Green Science Web Site” [sic], which aimed “to introduce agricultural biotechnology in a reasoned manner to help to calm the worries that have been so unfairly engendered in consumers.”7Introduction,” ProBIOTECH, April 5, 2001. Archived October 8, 2013. Archive URL:

Philip Stott was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biogeography from 1987-2004.8Philip Stott. “Charming complexity, Journal of Biogeography 31 (12): 1881–1882, November 25, 2004

According to an archived University of London personal page from 2004, Philip Stott’s research interests included “the construction of environmental knowledge over the last 30 years, especially in relation to the following metanarratives: biodiversity, biotechnology, climate change (global warming), organic agriculture, and tropical rain forests (see edited book: Political ecology: science, myth and power). He is especially concerned to unravel the power relations within and between these narratives.”9Professor Philip Stott,” SOAS University of London. Archived January 19, 2004.

Stance on Climate Change

Philip Stott has been critical of the term “climate change denier.” In response to 2003 reporting by the New Statesman, Stott claimed, “I am nothing of the sort. I believe passionately in climate change. Climate change is the norm, not the exception; if climate were not changing, that would be really newsworthy.”10Philip Stott. “Letter of the week,” New Statesman, 2003. Retrieved from


In an essay on his blog, A Parliament of Things, Philip Stott wrote:11Philip Stott. “Essay 1: Energy and British Politics,”A Parliament of Things. Archived April 23, 2005. Archive URL:

“Energy policy should aim to provide a reliable mix of energy generation to support economic growth, with the least possible dependence on imported fuels. We must recognize the wisdom of James Lovelock’s brave declaration that, for the mid-term, there is no alternative to nuclear power. As the Royal Society concludes, ‘in the short to medium term, it is difficult to see how we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels without the help of nuclear power.’

“In addition, while being honest about the peaking of fossil fuels, we have to continue to support their efficient use, including ‘Orimulsion’ tars, but especially coal, which is due for a resurgence. […] Our ultimate energy policy must comprise some mix of clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. There is no practical alternative. However, because of the problems of ocean acidification, we should support research into the long-term geological storage of carbon dioxide.”


In an essay on his self-published website “ProBIOTECH,” titled, “Global Warming: A Debate for All Seasons,” Stott wrote:12Philip Stott. “Global Warming: A Debate for All Seasons,” ProBIOTECH, 2001.

“From the very start, the whole discussion – or perhaps more properly rhetoric – has been flawed, above all because of the remarkable failure to recognise that climate change is the norm, and that climate varies at all scales, all the time, and not just in our ‘ever-so-important’ lifetime or under human influence.


“The idea that climate change can be attributed to just one or two politically chosen factors, such as the so-called ‘greenhouse gases’, like carbon dioxide and methane, is simply very bad science. Climate change is controlled by millions of interlinked factors, ranging from the swish of a butterfly’s wing, through 11- and 22-year solar magnetic cycles, volcanism, ocean-atmospheric linkages, sunspot activity, shorter duration wobbles of the Earth, to 96,000-year orbital changes and even intermittent meteor impacts. The intrinsic complexity of all these myriad links still totally defeats our climate modellers, many of whom cannot even account for the variation of water vapour, the most important greenhouse gas of all, and this means that climate change remains largely unpredictable. Moreover, this inherent unpredictability should warn us that, when, God-like, we try to adjust one or two of the factors involved, such as greenhouse gas emissions, our very best intentions may bring about results we neither expect nor want. We have no knowledge of how the tiny changes we initiate may interact with all the other ever-changing cycles.”

In another essay on the site, titled “Global Warming isn’t Climate Change,” which Stott described as “first published and syndicated by Bridge News, 2000,” he wrote:

“‘Global warming’ is part of a misguided agenda that seeks stability when change is the norm on this ever-restless Earth. The same agenda is employed against the use of biotechnology, against the genetic modification of crops, against the very things that help humankind to outpace change in population, pests, diseases and, above all, climate — whether hotter, wetter, colder, drier, or a mixture of all four. The idea of ‘global warming’ is potentially dangerous precisely because it gives the false impression that we might be able to halt climate change by fiddling about with just one or two of the millions of factors involved. It is a serious lie. Even if we achieved all the cuts in emissions proposed, the effect would be a temperature change of probably less than 0.07 degrees Celsius, and, because of the millions of other factors, it might not happen anyway.

“In face of the reality of change, we need a new agenda, not one based on illusory ideas of sustainable development and stability, but rather one on the dynamics of adaptability and flexible development. To quote Charles Darwin: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’ Above all, we must shed precautionary principles and seek adventurous and imaginative responses to risk and change.

“Climate change is thus reality; global warming a dangerous myth. The sooner we recognize this, the safer for us all.”

Stance on Biotechnology

Philip Stott ran the website ProBIOTECH, which included a petition and writing campaign to support “the continued use and development of biotechnology in agriculture.”

“[A]lthough this should not matter, I must stress that I have no financial links whatsoever with the biotechnology industry and that I pay for this Site entirely from my own resources,” Stott noted on the site.

Key Quotes


In Marc Morano‘s 2018 book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” Morano quoted Stott as saying that the notion of consensus is “harmful to science:” 13Edwin Vazquez. “The Climate Change Consensus Humbug,” Conservative Daily News, May 3, 2021. Archived July 27, 2023. Archive URL:

“Science does not function by consensus and most certainly not by politically driven consensus. In fact, the history of consensus in science is terrible from Galileo right the way through the beginning of the 20th century when 95% of scientists, for goodness sake, believed in eugenics. Science has to by its very nature be skeptical.'”

October 14, 2007

Philip Stott likened “global warming” to Marxism on his website A Hot Topic Blog: Global Warming Politics:14Homepage, Global Warming Politics. Archived November 1, 2007. Archive URL:

“‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. In this blog, I hope to be able to deconstruct the ‘myth’ in order to reveal its more dangerous and humorous foibles and follies. I shall focus as much on the politics as on the science.”

June 10, 2005

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Philip Stott wrote:15Daily Telegraph letters,” The Telegraph, June 10, 2005.

“Can humans combat climate change?

“Sir – As someone whom the philosopher David Hume would have called a ‘mitigated,’ or moderate, sceptic, I am concerned about Tony Blair’s G8 tinkering with climate (News, June 8).

“In Britain, global warming is a faith. Here the science is legitimised by the myth. This is something that even our august Royal Society has failed to grasp. Too many of us believe we are making an independent scientific assessment, when, in reality, we have subsumed Hume-scepticism to the demands of faith.

“The sceptic has to distinguish global warming from climate change.

“Climate change has to be broken down into three questions: ‘Is climate changing and in what direction?’ ‘Are humans influencing climate change, and to what degree?’ And: ‘Are humans able to manage climate change predictably by adjusting one or two factors out of the thousands involved?’

“The most fundamental question is: ‘Can humans manipulate climate predictably?’ Or, more scientifically: ‘Will cutting carbon dioxide emissions at the margin produce a linear, predictable change in climate?’ The answer is ‘No’.

“In so complex a coupled, non-linear, chaotic system as climate, not doing something at the margins is as unpredictable as doing something.

“This is the cautious science; the rest is dogma.

“And what ‘better’ climate will Mr Blair produce? Doing something might lead to worse. Moreover, consensus is not science. Consensus would have entrenched eugenics.

“At present, this basic question has been lost in the clamour ‘to do something at all costs’ and to damn those who doubt we can.”

September 4, 2004

In a letter to the editor of The Times, responding to a commentary by Sir Paul Simons, Stott wrote:Philip Stott. “Climate change,” The Times, September 4, 2004. Archived February 26, 2020.

“Climate change is the norm: over the last 60 years we have experienced both cooling and warming phases, and, no doubt, we will again. And, of course, organisms from plants to porpoises will respond, exactly as Mr Simons describes.

“By contrast, ‘global warming’ is a politico-(pseudo)scientific construct, developed since the late 1980s, in which the human emission of greenhouse gases, is unquestioningly taken as the prime driver of a new and dramatic type of climate change that will result in a significant warming during the next 100 years and lead to catastrophe.

“I remain deeply sceptical of global warming. Indeed, the idea that we can manage climate change predictably by adjusting one factor out of the millions involved is, to use Professor David Bellamy’s recent exclamation on the subject, ‘poppycock’.”

December 6, 2009

In an op-ed, The Sunday Mirror “asked climate change expert Professor Philip Stott of London’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies how effective he thinks the schemes would be,” referring to UK government proposals for cutting carbon emissions. Stott was skeptical about electric cars:16Vincent Moss. “What is the UK doing to tackle climate change?Sunday Mirror, December 6, 2009. Archived January 13, 2018. Archive URL:

“Electric cars are fine in principle, but remember they need to be plugged in so they are still giving off CO2. Their time will come, but it will be years before they are commercial to make and affordable to buy.”

Stott was enthusiastic about a hydroelectric power proposal: “This is the most important project for helping to solve our energy gap. It could provide five to six per cent of the whole country’s energy and it has a bit of Victorian verve and vision about it. But I fear the bird lovers might kill it off.”17Vincent Moss. “What is the UK doing to tackle climate change?Sunday Mirror, December 6, 2009. Archived January 13, 2018. Archive URL:

Regarding carbon capture, Philip Stott said, “It will be up to 15 years before it is possible to do commercially so it will be very expensive. But carbon capture has great potential so we urgently need to do it.” And on wind power, “They will never be a major player. They are the most expensive way to generate power, so they will hit people in the pocket. They need gas and coal back-up and a lot of the population hates them.”18Vincent Moss. “What is the UK doing to tackle climate change?Sunday Mirror, December 6, 2009. Archived January 13, 2018. Archive URL:

March 27, 2004

In an op-ed for The Times, Philip Stott wrote:19Philip Stott. “Quick, hide, the bin police are coming,” The Times, March 27, 2004. Archived February 10, 2007. Archive URL:

“[M]uch recycling is ideological rubbish, a monumental waste of effort.”


In an op-ed titled “Power poverty and climate colonialism” on the website of The Scientific Alliance, an organization seeking to “promote sound science in the environmental debate,”20About Us,” The Scientific Alliance. Archived October 14, 2012. Archive URL: Philip Stott termed fossil fuels “the master resource” for “economic and personal freedom”:21Philip Stott.”Power poverty and climate colonialism,” The Scientific Alliance. Archived January 6, 2004. Archive URL:

“For more than 200 years, energy has been derived from hydrocarbons,” Stott wrote. “Although at first taking a toll in miners’ lives, these fuels liberated both Europe and the US from energy poverty and rural drudgery. Far from maligning such fuels, we should acknowledge their extraordinary contribution to our evolution into rich, industrial states. Hydrocarbons have helped to deliver economic and personal freedom to billions.

“‘Green’ dogma on this issue is most glaringly exposed when applied to the energy poor of the developing world. Not only is this energy underclass to forego hydrocarbons in the name of paranoia about climate, they must also reject other major sources of modern energy as well – above all, nuclear power.”

Stott outlined what he termed an “alternative Charter for a sound energy policy”:

“Drop the predication of energy policy on the notion that we can manage in any predictable manner inexorable and complex climate change. What we need are strong economies that can adapt to climate change, whatever its ultimate direction;

“Drop the Kyoto Protocol and its ‘command-and-control’ economics which have no chance of working in the face of world economic growth, especially in the developing world.”

June 15, 2002

Stott wrote in response to an editorial in The Lancet:22Climate change: the new bioterrorism,” The Lancet, Vol. 359, Issue 9323, P2110 (June 15, 2002).

“All serious scholars remain cautious about the science of climate change, even those who believe some action needs to be taken.


“[C]limate change is, always has been, and always will be, the norm. Climate is the ultimate coupled nonlinear chaotic system; we can no more predict the outcome of doing something (emitting gases) than of not doing something (stopping emitting gases). This central truth must be stated without equivocation: control of the emission of human-induced greenhouse gases will not halt climate change.”

As references for “serious scholars,” Stott cited the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF).

Key Actions

March 14, 2007

Philip Stott was among those arguing in favor of the motion that “Global Warming is Not a Crisis” during a debate staged by Intelligence Squared US (later rebranded as “Open to Debate”). Stott was joined by by MIT meteorologist Richard S. Lindzen and American author Michael Crichton. The “against” debaters were Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor Richard C.J. Somerville.23Global Warming is Not a Crisis,” Open to Debate, March 14, 2007. Archived June 28, 2023. Archive URL:

Selected comments by Philip Stott from the transcript of the debate:

[00:42:08] The Christian Science Monitor, “Warning, Earth’s climate is changing faster than even experts expect.” I really like that. Your own New York Times, “A major cooling of the climate is widely inevitable.” And in Newsweek, back to consensus, “Meteorologists are almost unanimous that catastrophic famines will result from global cooling.”

[00:42:30] That was the 1970s. And there are many headlines. And what I would like to stress is, it was a stress on consensus, it was faster than expected, the evidence came from the oceans, from polar bears, it’s always polar bears, from the changing seasons and it’s always disaster.

[00:43:00] Why do we believe them now? And what is important in this I think is to remember what that first Earth Day claimed. The first Earth Day in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling, the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would good it were. [LAUGHTER]

[00:43:29] It’s nonsense and very dangerous. And what we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes. It is always as Dick said warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable it would actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first time for four and a half billion years. [LAUGHTER] Second, humans have been influencing climate for a million years as hominids, from the first hominid that set fire to the Savanna grasslands in Africa, when particulates and gases started to rise and they changed the reflectivity of the surface of the Earth.

[00:44:16] It’s a long relationship. So the debate, is climate changing and are humans affecting climate change is actually nearly irrelevant. The answers are yes and yes, and always will be. What is really crucial in all this is something that none of the scientists or none of the politicians want you really to hear.

[00:44:36] Climate is the most complex system we know governed by thousands of factors, I haven’t time to list them. But the point is, it’s like in my country, Glasgow on a Saturday night, chaos. [LAUGHTER] And what we’re trying to do is manage it by dealing with one pub.

[00:45:01] One. And it just won’t work, that’s the danger. In such a system, doing something at the margins and not doing something in the margins are equally unpredictable. And the question we should be asking our politicians are, what climate are you actually aiming to produce and when we get there won’t it change anyway?

[00:45:19] The crisis is therefore in ourselves and if we are rejecting this and I ask you passionately to do so for the next two more important reasons, our uh, political agenda as Michael hinted is wrong. There are two great crises in the world of which the biggest unquestionably is four billion people in poverty.

[00:45:42] And this topic is an ecocondria of our rich selves, London, New York and Washington. It’s about us and about our hypochondria about the world. If you actually have clean water, you have modern energy, you will cope with change whatever it is, hot, wet, cold or dry.

[00:45:50] I’m a left wing critic of global warming because the agenda is fundamentally wrong and dangerous. And believe you me, neither Republican nor Democrat will do anything about it, because our second crisis is a crisis of hypocrisy. Now Michael hinted at this, but I come from Europe which has been lecturing the world on this subject.


[00:47:13] I’m not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a very serious point. Global warming is also dangerous because I am an environmentalist, but what I’m beginning to see is that global warming is setting age-, agendas which are actually damaging for the environment.

[00:47:33] Bio fuels in which the energy relationships are very dodgy, but which have a very significant effect certainly in my country on biodiversity. What is more, we’re having wind farms placed for global warming on very, very sensitive peatmoor habitats. Don’t think therefore that if you’re an environmentalist, you have to be attached to this agenda.

March 2007

Philip Stott appeared in “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” a UK Channel 4 documentary.24Kevin Grandia. “A Global Warming Swindle play-by-play,DeSmog, March 12, 2007.

Among Stott’s comments in the film:

“Isn’t it bizarre to think that is humans, you know, when we are filling up our car, turning on our lights, we’re the ones controlling climate? Just look up in the sky at that massive thing the sun.”

February 25, 2002

Philip Stott was listed as a press contact in a press release by the European Science and Environmental Forum (ESEF) announcing a new publication titled “Climate Change and Policy: Making the Connection…a comprehensive analysis of the state of climate science based on the work of a group of science and policy experts convened by the American George C. Marshall Institute.”25(Press Release). “Climate Science and Policy: Making the Connection,” European Science and Environment Forum, February 25, 2002. Archived February 7, 2005. Archive URL:

Contributors to the report included Richard Lindzen, William O’Keefe, David Legates, Will Happer, and others.26(Press Release). “Climate Science and Policy: Making the Connection,” European Science and Environment Forum, February 25, 2002. Archived February 7, 2005. Archive URL:

Quotes credited to Stott in the press release included:27(Press Release). “Climate Science and Policy: Making the Connection,” European Science and Environment Forum, February 25, 2002. Archived February 7, 2005. Archive URL:

“In the UK, it is a media myth that there are only a few scientists who disagree with the view of ‘global warming’ on which the Kyoto Protocol is predicated.”


“This new booklet, compiled by some of the finest climate scientists and economists, undermines this comfortable conceit. Stressing anew the total uncertainty of climate change science, the authors challenge the key antinomy at the heart of Kyoto – namely that climate is one of the most complex systems known, yet we claim we can manage it by trying to control a small set of factors, namely greenhouse gas emissions. The dangers of such a viewpoint for public policy are made abundantly apparent.”

May 31–June 1, 2001

Philip Stott chaired the organizing committee of a conference titled “Seeds of Opportunity: The Role of Biotechnology in Agriculture.”28(Press Release). “International Agricultural Biotechnology Conference for London (9th February 2001),” Seeds of Opportunity, February 9, 2001. Archived April 23, 2001. Archive URL:

According to the event description, “The ‘Seeds of Opportunity’ will bring together leading international figures in agricultural biotechnology in order to demystify this technology and to discuss its potential advantages and disadvantages.” In the press release Stott was quoted, “The conference will provide a forum for discussion and debate at a level which has never been attempted before.”29Conference 31st May and 1st June 2001,” Seeds of Opportunity. Archived February 26, 2001. Archive URL:

October 1999

Philip Stott wrote a report titled, “Tropical Rain Forest: A Political Ecology of Hegemonic myth making,” published by the “Environmental Unit” of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).30Tropical Rain Forest: A Political Ecology of Hegemonic myth making” (PDF), Institute of Economic Affairs, October 1999. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In the report, Stott claimed there were several “myths relating to the tropical rain forest as an ecological control system for the world:

“The most crass, without doubt, is the image of tropical rain forest as ‘the lungs of the world.’

“Equally nonsensical, however, are the direct attempts to blame the cutting and burning of tropical rain forest for the perceived problems of ‘global warming’. Without 200 years of industrial development in the North, the subject of global warming would never even have raised its ugly head. Any attempt to transfer blame to the South is morally outrageous, especially when we remember that, despite human deforestation, there are probably still more trees in the tropics than there were only 16,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.”

Stott concluded: “The ‘Great Green Anglo-Saxon Hegemonic Myth’ of the ‘tropical rain forest’ has thus been constructed and deconstructed. Yet, it still holds sway over much of the media, on television, on radio, and in the press. It must now be discredited and discarded as quickly as possible.”

The report included a forward from Julian Morris, then the executive director and founder of the UK-based International Policy Network. Describing “the myth of the tropical rain forest,” Morris claimed that environmentalists had a “paranoid obsession with the climate, which seeks to achieve the impossibility of climate stability regardless of cost.”


Social Media

Philip Stott does not appear to be active on social media.


  • Philip Stott (2001). Jungles of the Mind, History Today, 51(5), May 2001, 38-44.
  • Philip Stott and Sian Sullivan, eds. (2000). Political Ecology: Science, Myth and Power. Arnold, a member of the Hodder Headline Group.
  • Philip Stott (1999). Tropical rainforest: a political ecology of hegemonic mythmaking. London, IEA Studies on the Environment No. 15.
  • Philip Stott (1999). Biogeography and ecology in crisis: the urgent need for a new metalanguage. Journal of Biogeography 25, 1-2.
  • Philip Stott (1997). Dynamic tropical forestry in an unstable world. Commonwealth Forestry Review 76(3), 207-9.
  • Philip Stott, Peter Moore, and Bill Chaloner (1996). Global Environmental Change. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Other Publications

Note: These links have not been confirmed by DeSmog.

Other Resources


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