Richard Keen

Richard A. Keen (Deceased)


  • Ph.D., Geography/Climatology, University of Colorado. [1]


Richard A. Keen was instructor emeritus at the University of Colorado Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). Keen passed away on January 25, 2020. Some sources have also described him as a “climatologist,” and others as a “meteorologist.” [2], [32][3]

According to Keen, he had experience as a meteorologist in the army and had “done some climate modeling when I was younger and less wise.” He does not mention receiving any training as a climatologist. [4]

He was the author or co-author of numerous books including Skywatch West: The Complete Weather Guide and The Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Clouds and Storms.

Stance on Climate Change

“Half or more of the warming since 1995 may due to the lack of large volcanic eruptions. […] The remaining climate change is presumably caused by other forces, such as solar variability, El Nino, Atlantic AMO warming in 1995, lower Albedo and maybe even a little greenhouse gas.” [5]

Key Quotes

“Since the total direct impact of Carbon on climate is 0.2C, and US carbon production is no longer rising, controls such as Cap ‘n Trade and Kyoto are ineffective solutions that will fail to solve a non-existent problem.” [4]

“”Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UNIPCC… . The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium … which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.’” [6]

Key Deeds

August 26, 2019

Keen presented at the Heartland Institute’s live-stream rebuttal to the UN’s 68th Civil Society Sustainability Conference, which was being held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The panel discussion also featured talks by James Taylor, Howard Hayden, and Paul Driessen, among others. [31]

According to the live-stream’s YouTube description, the event was organized to “show how the collectivist climate and sustainability programs promoted by the U.N. would cause more harm than good, especially for the world’s poorest and most disenfranchised people.” [31]

Keen concluded:

“So enjoy the climate while it lasts and make enough CO2 to feed a tree, which is what CO2 does. It helps plant life and increases crops.” [31]

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. [28]

Keen 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 InstituteCraig Idso, the chairman of the 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. [29]

The letter reads: [30]

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!”

February 23, 2017

Richard Keen 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). [23]

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. [23]

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. [24]

February 5–10, 2017

Richard Keen was a speaker at the Fourth Santa Fe Conference on Global & Regional Climate Change. According to the conference program (PDF), Keen’s speech was titled “Volcanic Aerosol forcing of the Global Climate from Lunar Eclipse observations.” [19], [20]

The Fourth Santa Fe Conference was sponsored by the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Center for Earth and Space Science and co-sponsored by American Meteorological Society. [21]

It was the fourth in a series of conferences with the stated purpose of bringing together researchers “with varied interpretations of current and past global and regional climate change, to present the latest research results (observations, modeling and analysis), and to provide speaking and listening opportunities to top climate experts and students.” The first conference took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2001. Both the second and the third were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2006 and 2011 respectively. [21]

View a complete copy of Keen”s abstract here (.docx). [22]

April 27, 2015

Richard Keen was in the Vatican City, Italy, for a press event hosted by the Heartland Institute in order to “dissuade Pope Francis from lending his moral authority to the politicized and unscientific climate agenda of the United Nations,” according to a Heartland Institute press release.

Other speakers included: [16], [17]

Video below:[16], [17]

DeSmogUK attended the event and noted that “just nine journalists made up the audience at Heartland’s press conference”: 

July 7 – 9, 2014

Richard Keen was a panelist at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. [15] He spoke on Panel 15: “How Reliable Are Temperature Records? Is Global Warming Rapid and Dangerous?” with Norman Rogers, Anthony Watts, and Larry Gould.

Panel 15: How Reliable are Temperature Records? Is Global Warming Rapid and Dangerous?

Panel 15 Q&A

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

May 21–23, 2012

Richard Keen was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [7]

His speech, titled “The Pacific Decimal Oscillation and Global Climate Models” can be viewed below. 

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

May 27, 2011

Richard Keen 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.”[18]

According to the petitioners, representing the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc.:  [18]

“[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.” [18]

Petitioners listed were:

June 12, 2010

Presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP) in Orlando, Florida. His presentation was titled “It’s the Data, stupid! What’s wrong with global warming.” [4]

August 2, 2009

Speaker at the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness 27th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. His presentation was titled “Volcanoes, Stars, and Gases, oh My! What’s changing our climate?” [8]

March 8–10, 2009

Keen was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2). His talk was titled “Volcanoes and Climate Change Since 1980: A View from the Moon.” [9]

DeSmogBlog researched the funding behind the conference and found that sponsor organizations had collectively received over $47 million from energy companies and right-wing foundations, with 78% of that total coming from the Scaife Family of foundations.

November 19, 2008

Keen’s signature was appended to a Cato Institute advertisement that criticizes comments made by President-Elect Barack Obama which had listed climate change as an urgent issue.

The ad states “We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now… .Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.” [10]

October 14, 2008

Dr. Richard Keen’s ‘Global Warming Quiz‘” was posted on Roger Pielke‘s web blog and hosted at the skeptical ICECAP website (PDF). The quiz’s closing remark is “Enjoy the warm climate while it lasts, and please make enough CO2 to feed a tree.” [11]

According to some sources, Keen had committed “blatant cherry picking of historical data with a collection of historical examples of warm periods and extreme weather events” in his interpretation of the Science. [12]



According to a search of Google Scholar, Richard A. Keen has published less than five articles in peer-reviewed journals on the subject of climate. Not all of those articles were directly related to climate change, and many were published over 20 years ago. It is also unclear whether all of his following articles were peer-reviewed:

  • KT Redmond, DB Simeral, RA Keen. “Monitoring Seasonal and Long-term Climate Changes/Extremes in the Central Alaska Network” (PDF)
  • Richard A. Keen. “Volcanic Aerosols and Lunar Eclipses,” Science, Vol. 222 no. 4627 (December 2, 1983), pp. 1011-1013.
  • RA Keen. “Climate Data Analysis of Existing Weather Stations in around the Central Alaska Network (CAKN),” National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network, April 2008.
  • R A Keen. “Tropical convection and North American cyclones during the 1982-83 El Nino,” NOAA Proc. of the 9th Ann. Climate Diagnostics Workshop p 341-345 (SEE N86-11763 02-47); UNITED STATES


  1. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Case #09-1322, filed May 27, 2011. “COALITION FOR RESPONSIBLE REGULATION, INC., ET AL., Petitioners, v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND LISA P. JACKSON, ADMINISTRATOR(PDF).
  2. Richard Keen,” ATOC. Accessed May 16, 2012.
  3. Clouds, Clouds, Clouds,” University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Accessed May, 2012.
  4. It’s the Data, Stupid! What’s Wrong with Global Warming | Richard A. Keen,” YouTube video uploaded by user “LibertyInOurTime”, February 5, 2012.
  5. P. Gosselin. “Study Shows Half Of Warming Since 1980 Due To Clear Skies,” NoTricksZone, December 19, 2010.
  6. U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, December 11, 2008.
  7. Speakers,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Accessed May 16, 2012.
  8. Volcanoes, Stars, and Gases, Oh My! What’s Changing Our Climate? | Richard A. Keen,” YouTube Video uploaded by user “LibertyinOurTime,”June 17, 2010.
  9. Speakers,” the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, March 5, 2009. Archived April 27, 2010.
  10. With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true,” Cato Institute. Accessed May, 2012.
  11. Dr. Richard Keen’s ‘Global Warming Quiz’,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. Research Group News, October 14, 2008. Archived March 29, 2009.
  12. Climate Change and Picking Cherries with Richard Keen,” Greenfyre’s, October 25, 2008.
  13. Dr. Richard Keen’s ‘Global Warming Quiz’,” Climate Research News, October 15, 2008.
  14. Richard Keen,” SourceWatch.
  15. Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmogBlog, July 7, 2014. Archived July 14, 2014.
  16. World’s Leading Scientific ‘Skeptics’ of Man-Caused Global Warming Invite Public and Press to Lunch Event April 28 Just Outside the Vatican,” Heartland Institute. April 27, 2015. Archived May 29, 2015.
  17. Pope Francis Should Answer to ExxonMobil Rather Than God, Imply Climate Deniers,” DeSmogUK. April 27, 2015.
  18. COALITION FOR RESPONSIBLE REGULATION, INC., ET AL. (Petitioners) v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND LISA P. JACKSON, ADMINISTRATOR, Respondents (PDF). Retrieved from World Climate Report. Archived.pdf on file at Desmog.
  19. “Fourth Santa Fe Conference on Global & Regional Climate Change: Confirmed Speakers,” Archived February 16, 2017. URL:
  20. “Program: Fourth Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change” (PDF), February 3, 2017. Retrieved from Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  21. Fourth Santa Fe Conference on Global & Regional Climate Change,” Archived February 16, 2017. URL:
  22. Richard A. Keen. “Volcanic Aerosol Climate Forcing 1979-2015: Global values derived from Lunar Eclipse observations” (.docx), November 8, 2016. Retrieved from Archived .docx on file at DeSmog.
  23. PETITION” (PDF), February 23, 2017. Richard Lindzen. PDF Archived at DeSmog.
  24. Graham Readfearn. “Climate Science Denier Richard Lindzen’s List of 300 “Scientists” Sent to Trump Is the Usual Parade of Non-Experts,” DeSmog, February 27, 2017.
  25. amnh18-feb4-petitionletter (PDF – Untitled). Retrieved from Watts Up With That.
  26. Robin Pogrebin and Somini Sengupta. “A Science Denier at the Natural History Museum? Scientists Rebel,” The New York Times, January 25, 2018. Archived February 13, 2018. URL
  27. Graham Readfearn. “Climate Science Deniers Defend New York’s American Museum of Natural History From Calls to Drop Trustee Rebekah Mercer,” DeSmog, February 6, 2018.
  28. Robin Pogrebin and Somini Sengupta. “A Science Denier at the Natural History Museum? Scientists Rebel,” The New York Times, January 25, 2018. Archived February 13, 2018. URL
  29. Graham Readfearn. “Climate Science Deniers Defend New York’s American Museum of Natural History From Calls to Drop Trustee Rebekah Mercer,” DeSmog, February 6, 2018.
  30. mnh18-feb4-petitionletter (PDF – Untitled). Retrieved from Watts Up With That.
  31. Heartland Institute Rebuttal to UN ‘Civil Society’ Sustainability Conference,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Heartland Institute,” August 26, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  32. DR. RICHARD KEEN, R.I.P.The Heartland Institute, January 27, 2020. Archived January 29, 2020. URL:

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