Richard Lindzen

Richard Lindzen


  • Ph.D., Applied Mathematics, Harvard University (1964). [1]
  • S.M., Applied Mathematics, Harvard University (1961).  [1]
  • A.B. (mcl), Physics, Harvard University (1960).  [1]


Richard S. Lindzen is former Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a position he held from 1983 until his retirement in 2013. [3], [76], [77]

Lindzen’s academic interests lie within the topics of “climate, planetary waves, monsoon meteorology, planetary atmospheres, and hydrodynamic instability,” according to his faculty profile at MIT[3]

Lindzen is a former distinguished senior fellow at the Cato Institute‘s Center for the Study of Science. The Center shut down in 2019, and was no longer affiliated with Lindzen at that time. “It’s unclear when he left Cato, and [Spokeswoman Khristine] Brookes declined to comment on personnel issues,” E&E News reported[2], [101]

The Cato Institute, a conservative think tank where Lindzen has also published numerous articles and studies, has received at least $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. In his 1995 article, “The Heat Is On,” Ross Gelbspan reported Lindzen charged oil and coal organizations $2,500 per day for his consulting services. [4], [5]

Lindzen has described ExxonMobil as “the only principled oil and gas company I know in the U.S.” [6]

In addition to his position at Cato, Lindzen is listed as an “Expert” with the Heartland Institute, a member of the “Academic Advisory Council” of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and an advisor to the CO2 Coalition, a group promoting the benefits of atmospheric carbon dioxide. [58][59][62]

Fossil Fuel Funding

As part of a March 2018 legal case between the cities of San Francisco and Oakland and fossil fuel companies, Lindzen was asked by the judge to disclose any connections he had to connected parties. [94]

In response, Lindzen reported that he had received $25,000 per year for his position at the Cato Institute since 2013. He also disclosed $1,500 from the Texas Public Policy Foundation for a “climate science lecture” in 2017, and approximately $30,000 from Peabody Coal in connection to testimony Lindzen gave at a proceeding of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commissions in September 2015. [98]

Stance on Climate Change

April 25, 2017

Writing at Merion West, Lindzen argued that believing climate change is largely caused by increases in carbon dioxide is “pretty close to believing in magic.” [92]

“In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science’,” Lindzen wrote. [92]

December 8, 2016

The only meaningful question would be whether we are seeing anything sufficiently unusual to to warrant concern. And the answer to this is unambiguously ‘no’,” Lindzen declared at the At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit, organized by the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF)[66]


Lindzen described the 97% consensus among climate scientists as “propaganda”:

It is propaganda. So all scientists agree it’s probably warmer now than it was at the end of the Little Ice Age. Almost all Scientists agree that if you add CO2, you will have some warming. Maybe very little warming. But it is propaganda to translate that into it is dangerous and we must reduce CO2.” [7]


“So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points. First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists–especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a ‘moral’ crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce–if we’re lucky,” Lindzen wrote in an article at the Wall Street Journal.  [8]


According to Richard Lindzen, computer models used in predicting climate change are “generally recognized as experimental tools whose relation to the real world is questionable.” [9]

Key Quotes

October 2018

“Warming of any significance ceased about 20 years ago,” Lindzen claimed in a lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation. [100]

November 30, 2017

Speaking at “At the Crossroads IV: Energy & Climate Policy Summit,” a conference co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation and Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), Lindzen declared: [78]

The greenhouse effect due to CO2 alone is, as has been mentioned, is small. Alarm depends on poorly modeled feedbacks to the main greenhouse substances.”

December 8, 2016

Lindzen made the following statements at the “At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit” in December 2016:

“Both the evidence and the motivation have been clear early on. Energy is a multi-trillion dollar sector of the economy. Control over this sector is an obvious target for those who want increasing state control over society.” [66]

Curtailing access to energy is nothing short of malicious, and that’s what precisely the war on fossil fuels is. As has been noted, the environmental movement likes any source of energy, provided that it doesn’t work.” [66]

In fact, there is good scientific evidence that added CO2 will be a net benefit to the Earth. Craig [Idso] mentioned this in detail. The media hyperventilate over statistically insignificant temperature changes of small fractions of a degree.”  [66]

Some politicians and others may actually believe that [global] warming is bad and leads to catastrophe. But the fact remains that this is as blatantly false and dangerous as were the claims for eugenics.” [66]

The absurd claims of increasing droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea level rise, and other extremes are contradicted not only by the UN but by the data.” [66]

The Earth has done the experiment of much higher CO2 than we have. And the planet survived. It did have catastrophes. There were ice ages. There were other things. It just didn’t correlate with the CO2.” [66]

Modest warming by itself would also be a net benefit to human health and agriculture. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led to safety by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. When it comes to climate alarm, this has gone much too far, wasting trillions of dollars to avoid a beneficial change […]” [66]

It’s time to put the brakes on the climate alarm movement. The benefits would be immense, and would come with immense savings and not expenditures.” [66]

November, 2015

“Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial. […] When someone says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period,” Lindzen said in a panel at a “climate summit” arranged by the Texas Public Policy Foundation shortly before the UN climate summit in Paris. [11]

June 1, 2015

Even the connection of fossil fuel emissions to atmospheric CO2 levels is open to question. In the ice core records of the ice ages, it appears that CO2 levels may follow temperature increases, rather than vice versa,” Lindzen declared in June 2015 testimony. See this concept debunked at SkepticalScience[10], [87]

January, 2015

The Daily Mail reported Lindzen compared people believing in global warming to religious fanatics:

“As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical.” [12]

March 2009

”[…] [T]here is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons,” Lindzen told a gathering at the Heartland Institute‘s International Conference on Climate Change. [14]

February 13, 2007

“To say that climate change will be catastrophic hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions that do not emerge from empirical science,” Lindzen said in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune[13]


Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age,” Lindzen was quoted, offering praise for Christopher C. Horner’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.  [15]

January, 2007

In a CNN interview with Larry King:

“[W]e’re talking of a few tenths of a degree change in temperature. None of it in the last eight years, by the way. And if we had warming, it should be accomplished by less storminess. But because the temperature itself is so unspectacular, we have developed all sorts of fear of prospect scenarios – of flooding, of plague, of increased storminess when the physics says we should see less. 

I think it’s mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves.” [16]

Key Actions

April 6, 2021

Lindzen co-authored an article with Will Happer at the National Review titled “Climate ‘Emergency’? Not So Fast.” [107]

The authors wrote, “the frenzy over climate resembles the medieval crusades against foreign infidels and home-grown heretics.” They added, “There is even a children’s climate crusade.” [107]

“We are both scientists who can attest that the research literature does not support the claim of a climate emergency. Nor will there be one. None of the lurid predictions — dangerously accelerating sea-level rise, increasingly extreme weather, more deadly forest fires, unprecedented warming, etc. — are any more accurate than the fire-and-brimstone sermons used to stoke fanaticism in medieval crusaders,” Happer and Linden wrote.

They added, erroneously: “No scientist familiar with radiation transfer denies that more carbon dioxide is likely to cause some surface warming. But the warming would be small and benign. In fact, history shows that warmings of a few degrees Celsius — which extended growing seasons — have been good for humanity.” [107]

They repeat other common arguments like the idea that increased CO2 will increase plant yields without considering any other factors and that climate models “have already been falsified” (they have not). [107]

September 24, 2020

Appearing in Marc Morano’s 2020 film Climate Hustle 2: Rise of the Climate Monarchy, produced by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Lindzen disputed the causal link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and rising global temperatures, comparing it to “believing in magic.” [106]

CO2 is the control knob…It’s one variable…one response number. You know, this is believing in magic,” Lindzen said.

Lindzen also questioned whether climate change had contributed to recent global temperature increases, stating that:

In that instrumental record we’ve had very little change over the last century and a half.”

September 2019

The Australian reported Lindzen was among those named in a statement by academic website The Conversation, which said it would ban comments from climate change deniers. The list was drawn from research published in the journal Nature, tracking the academic publications of climate change deniers and expert scientists across research in digital and print media on climate change. Those on the list included Richard Lindzen, Jennifer Marohasy, Judith CurryRichard Tol, Bjorn Lomborg, Ian Plimer, and Maurice Newman. [104], [105]

Alex Petersen, lead author of the study, said: “It’s time to stop giving these people (contrarians) visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority. … By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles in the climate change denialism movement, which has given rise to climate change misinformation at scale.” [104]

Curry said the paper “does substantial harm to climate science … There are a spectrum of perspectives, especially at the knowledge frontiers. Trying to silence or delegitimise any of these voices is very bad for science.” [104]

The Conversation‘s editor and executive director Misha Ketchell commented: “We moderate anything that is a deliberate misinformation and distortion of facts or attempts to misrepresent arguments or community members. We know climate sceptics are very good at derailing constructive conversations, so we’ll remove comments that attempt to hijack threads or to push an agenda or argument irrelevant to the discussion.” [104]

September 9, 2019

Lindzen was a signatory to a letter organized by European climate science denial group CLINTEL titled “There is no climate emergency.” The letter was part of a media blitz by the organization as it attempted to block the EU’s efforts to implement a net-zero target. [102]

October 2018

Following the release of the latest IPCC report, Lindzen was among a number of climate science deniers who downplayed the dangers cited in the report. [99]

Lindzen gave a lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation the same day that the IPCC report was released: [100]

“Warming of any significance ceased about 20 years ago,” Lindzen claimed. 

Describing climate change as “an implausible conjecture backed by false evidence and repeated incessantly,” Lindzen suggested renewable energy would lead to a bleak future with “a landscape degraded by rusting wind farms and decaying solar panel arrays.” [100]

March 2018

Lindzen was one of several prominent climate change deniers who offered “friend of the court” briefs as part of a case in which San Francisco and Oakland are suing fossil fuel companies over the costs their cities face due to climate change. [94]

As of March 19, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said he had received two of the briefs. One group included Willie SoonChristopher Monckton, while the other included Lindzen and Steven Koonin, who has advocated for a “red team, blue team” approach to debating climate science. [94]

Authors also included David Legates, who has received funding by various industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, Charles G. Koch Caritable Foundation, Southern Company, and ExxonmobilWilliam M. Briggs, a statistician; Michael Limburg, vice president of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) that has co-hosted climate change denial events with the Heartland Institute; Dietrich Jeschke from  the University of Applied Sciences in Flensburg, Germany; and James Morrison, whose only listing is as an undergraduate in Environmental Scienes at the University of West Anglia. “It’s unusual to list an undergraduate student as a scientific expert, particularly in a brief related specifically to a tutorial on the scientific evidence underpinning a case,” Climate Liability News noted[97]

ICN described the case—which included a “climate tutorial”—as an “an unusual arrangement, seemingly borrowed from patent litigation, where judges commonly hear initial testimony from both sides on pertinent scientific details,” would take place in a mock classroom and included a set of basic preliminary questions about climate to start the discussion. [93], [95]

Lindzen’s group summarized their message as follows:

“To summarize this overview, the historical and geological record suggests recent changes in the climate over the past century are within the bounds of natural variability. Human influences on the climate (largely the accumulation of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion) are a physically small (1%) effect on a complex, chaotic, multicomponent and multiscale system. Unfortunately, the data and our understanding are insufficient to usefully quantify the climate’s response to human influences. However, even as human influences have quadrupled since 1950, severe weather phenomena and sea level rise show no significant trends attributable to them. Projections of future climate and weather events rely on models demonstrably unfit for the purpose. As a result, rising levels of CO2 do not obviously pose an immediate, let alone imminent, threat to the earth’s climate.”  [94]

The other group, including Monckton and Soon, had their brief submitted by a Heartland Institute lawyer:

“There is no agreement among climatologists as to the relative contributions of Man and Nature” to observed planetary warming, they claimed. As for the consensus view, it “says nothing about whether anthropogenic global warming was, is or will be catastrophic.”  [94]

InsideClimateNews noted that the judge requested that the groups of climate change deniers each file a statement by the end of the day on Tuesday declaring who paid for their research, whether they received support from anyone “on either side of the climate debate,” and whether any of them were “affiliated in any way (directly or indirectly)” with parties to the litigation.  [94]

“And why, he asked, did they wait so long to present their documents, limiting the time for others to respond to them?” ICN added.  [94]

The case is one of several in which cities have filed lawsuits against fossil fuel companies regarding knowledge about climate change, and damages related to to their products due to the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. [96]

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. [82]

Lindzen 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 CoalitionCato Institute where Lindzen is senior fellow; and Craig 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. [83]

The letter reads: [84]

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

Lindzen spoke at the “At the Crossroads IV: Energy & Climate Policy Summit” co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation and Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). [78]

During his speech, Lindzen compares climate change “alarmistm” to tactics used by Joseph Goebbels: [78]

Goebbels claimed that a big enough lie repeated often comes to be regarded as truth. Climate alarmism is a perfect example. We are actually taking things that, as has been pointed out, are beneficial and claiming that they are catastrophic.” [78]

Lindzen concludes that it would be “absurd” to limit CO2, and that sea levels are not rising:

“While large increases in sea level would be dangerous, we’ve just seen there’s no evidence that the centuries long rate of fifteen centimeters a century is accelerating. And we have long demonstrated that accommodating this is readily achieved. The expenditure of trillions of dollars to avoid benefits is even more absurd than the implausible science.” [78]

May 5, 2017

DeSmog UK reported that Richard Lindzen was guest speaker for the inaugural meeting of the Irish Climate Science Forum (ICSF) in Dublin. The “strictly private event” denied access to politicians, media and NGOs, reported organizer Jim O’Brien. The event attracted an audience of roughly 50-60 guests. [75]

Lindzen’s lecture at the event was titled “The Science and Politics of Climate Change.” During his talk, Lindzen condemned the “narrative of hysteria” that he claims surrounds climate change science. He said that any climate change that has occurred as “minuscule,” and recent warming was within the range of “natural variability” even positing that “warming would actually benefit the Earth.” [75]

The ICSF describes itself as “a voluntary group of Irish scientists, engineers and other professionals, currently in a formative stage.” The groups sets out to perform what it describes as a “neutral, independent analysis of the latest climate research with the purpose of better informing climate and energy policies in Ireland.” [75]

February 23, 2017

Richard Lindzen was behind a petition (PDF) urging President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the United Nations international convention on climate change (UNFCCC). [70]

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.  [70]

Media outlets including Fox NewsThe Hill, and the Daily Caller reported on the list, describing signatories as “eminent scientists” and “qualified individuals.” [71][72][73]

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. [74]

Notable signatories included the following:

Following Lindzen’s open letter, MIT‘s own climate researchers and faculty responding with their own open letter to the president, InsideClimateNews reported. [91]

“As [Lindzen’s] colleagues at MIT in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate, all of whom are actively involved in understanding climate, we write to make it clear that this is not a view shared by us, or by the overwhelming majority of other scientists who have devoted their professional lives to careful study of climate science,” said the letter, signed by current and retired MIT professors. [91]

January 5, 2017

Richard Lindzen was a signatory to a Cornwall Alliance open letter supporting Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator under the Trump administration. [67]

Mr. Pruitt has also demonstrated understanding of and open-mindedness toward scientific insights crucial to the formulation and implementation of environmental regulation. He is prepared to hear all sides in debates over the risks and benefits of various activities that come under the purview of the EPA,” reads the letter.

On January 12, 2017, Senate Democrats raised conflict of interest concerns regarding Scott Prutt’s fossil fuel ties. Pruitt had spent years working to combat the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. [68]

In an open letter to the Office of Government Ethics, members of the Senate’s environmental panel commented:

During his tenure as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has blurred the distinction between official and political actions, often at the behest of corporations he will regulate if confirmed to lead EPA,” the letter said. “Public reporting based on documents produced by Freedom of Information Act requests illustrate how Mr. Pruitt and members of his staff have worked closely with fossil fuel lobbyists to craft his office’s official positions.”

Pruitt was further grilled on his fossil fuel ties at his confirmation hearing on January 18[69]

Some notable signatories of the Cornwall Alliance letter, as of January 5, 2017, included:

December 8, 2016

Richard Lindzen 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. Note that the video is now listed as “private” on YouTube.[64]

I’m going to offer a simple suggestion for how both the public and private sectors can serve the environment. […] The most important and useful measure I would suggest for both would be the ending of anti-CO2 climate alarmism.” [40:41]

Climate hysteria is a classic example of how capturing a narrative can turn absurd conjectures into presumptive truth. And once they’ve done that, you have to defend yourself against it, even though it’s absurd.” [41:15]

There’s a book by [Michael] Oppenheimer and Robert Boyle […] called Dead Heat: the Race Against the Greenhouse effect. Now this book from 1990, virtually all that it predicted having failed to occur, remains the template for the hysteria.” [41:49]

The role of climate change in the recent presidential election campaign was interestingly subdued. Trump was dismissive. Clinton treated the issue with caution that increased in the course of the campaign. Especially as she realized how poorly the notion of putting coal out of business served.” [42:57]

One suspects that there was awareness that the public, but not the elites, has long seen the climate issue as almost entirely political rather than an environmental or even a scientific issue.“ [43:19]

“Both the evidence and the motivation have been clear early on. Energy is a multi-trillion dollar sector of the economy. Control over this sector is an obvious target for those who want increasing state control over society.” [43:33]

“By virtually every measure of human welfare, they improve with increased energy usage. You can also find similar graphs actually for modest warming.” [46:09]

That science is irrelevant is illustrated by the bait and switch tactics used to sow alarm. The bait is the correct statement that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and will likely cause some warming of the Earth. But this bait is replaced by unfounded claims that the warming and other effects of increased CO2 will be catastrophic.” [46:25]

In fact, there is good scientific evidence that added CO2 will be a net benefit to the Earth. Craig [Idso] mentioned this in detail. The media hyperventilate over statistically insignificant temperature changes of small fractions of a degree.”  [46:51]

Some politicians and others may actually believe that [global] warming is bad and leads to catastrophe. But the fact remains that this is as blatantly false and dangerous as were the claims for eugenics.” [48:40]

The only meaningful question would be whether we are seeing anything sufficiently unusual to to warrant concern. And the answer to this is unambiguously ‘no.’ […] levels of CO2 we see today are much smaller than the levels of CO2 seen through most of the Earth’s last 600 million years.” [50:51]

The absurd claims of increasing droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea level rise, and other extremes are contradicted not only by the UN but by the data.” [51:30]

The Earth has done the experiment of much higher CO2 than we have. And the planet survived. It did have catastrophes. There were ice ages. There were other things. It just didn’t correlate with the CO2.” [52:33]

There are good reasons why the UN IPCC backs off the issue of extremes. The evidence isn’t there.” [52:55]

My favorite is of course the business of extremes in temperature. Because there, the models predict the opposite. And the theory predicts the opposite. The models in fact behave incorrectly. But to say that in a world that was warmer, you have fewer extremes, is not alarming.” [53:13]

“What is the true situation? As Will and Craig have pointed out, not only is the demonized co2 molecule not toxic, it is vital to plant life and hence vital for all life. Its increase in recent years has contributed substantially to increased agricultural productivity.” [53:49]

Modest warming by itself would also be a net benefit to human health and agriculture. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led to safety by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. When it comes to climate alarm, this has gone much too far, wasting trillions of dollars to avoid a beneficial change […]” [54:13]

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.” [65]

Speakers included:

June 13, 2016

Richard Lindzen was among individuals listed as creditors in Peabody Energy’s 2016 bankruptcy filings, reports the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch). [17]

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. [18]

Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [19]

The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [20]

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

Notable organizations also listed as creditors in the bankruptcy documents include:

May 18, 2016

Richard Lindzen 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[21][22]

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.” [21]

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.”  [21]

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. [23]

The CEI letter lists the following signatories:

April 2016

Richard Lindzen was one of several witnesses sponsored by Peabody Energy, fighting a legal case on Minnesota’s Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). Peabody Energy’s list of skeptical scientists included the following: [10]

DeSmog reviewed the case findings, and reported how the arguments presented by Peabody were rejected by the wwwistrative Law Judge (ALJ). Some of Peabody’s central “scientific” arguments, as commented on by The ALJ in findings documents, were as follows: [24]

p.18 “Peabody asserted that significant climate change is not occurring or, to the extent climate change is occurring, it is not due to anthropogenic causes. Furthermore, Peabody insisted that any current warming and increased CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere are beneficial. Based on its position on climate change, Peabody maintained that the externality value of CO2 would most accurately be set at or below zero.…”

p.31 “The wwwistrative Law Judge concludes that Peabody Energy has failed to demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that climate change is not occurring or, to the extent climate change is occurring, the warming and increased CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere are beneficial.” 

Richard Lindzen’s contribution included testimony later rebutted by R. Gurney (also see CO2 lags temperature at Skeptical Science) :[25]

Even the connection of fossil fuel emissions to atmospheric CO2 levels is open to question. In the ice core records of the ice ages, it appears that CO2 levels may follow temperature increases, rather than vice versa.” [10]

The Judge ruled unambiguously against Peabody, as reported Bloomberg BNA. [“ALJ: Minnesota Should Use Federal Costs of Carbon in Decisions,” Bloomberg BNA, April 20, 2016. Archived June 27, 2016. URL:

The Guardian also suggested a number of reasons that Peabody Energy lost the case, including Richard Lindzen‘s own admission that the case hinged on ignoring the IPCC expert consensus, and instead listening to contrarian science: [26]

“All of this [opposition] testimony is flawed to the extent it simply relies on … predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change […] today the best evidence indicates that … a much lower climate sensitivity value of 1°C or 1.5°C is correct […]” [26]

“Peabody’s scientists made errors that were easy to identify and point out to the Judge. Furthermore, the Judge was smart, quickly able to see through nonsense non-science,” The Guardian reports. “For those of you that read the report, you’ll notice that the Peabody side made claims about the natural variability of Earth’s climate, about Earth temperature changes, and about extreme weather events.” [27]

Some notable judicial conclusions were as follows, reports The Guardian:

“22. The wwwistrative Law Judge concludes that Peabody failed to demonstrate that an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1 or 1.5°C is correct.”

“23. The wwwistrative Law Judge concludes that the climate sensitivity is reasonably considered to be in the 2-4.5°C range.”

“47. The wwwistrative Law Judge concludes that Peabody failed to demonstrate that the relied upon process is neither peer-reviewed nor transparent.”

March 29, 2016

Richard Lindzen 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. [28]

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.” Video of Lindzen’s talk below. [28]

Other videos of the conference are available at The New Criterion’s YouTube page. Featured speakers listed at the event included the following: [28]

February 12, 2016

Richard Lindzen was a guest on RealClear Radio Hour, a program hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His comments to Bill Frezza were also transcribed by Marc Morano at (samples comments below). [29]

Lindzen’s claims were subsequently debunked at Inverse[30]

Question: How much warming do you expect for a doubling of carbon dioxide?

Lindzen: “Doubling is chosen for a very good reason. The dependence of the greenhouse gas effects what is called logarithmic. Which means if you double CO2 from 280 to 560ppm, you would get the same thing you as you would get from doubling from 560 to 10120. It’s a diminishing return thing.”

There is no obvious trend for at least 18 years in temperature.”

Lindzen on ‘97% consensus’: 

Lindzen: “It was the narrative from the beginning. In 1998, [NASA’s James] Hansen made some vague remarks. Newsweek ran a cover that says all scientists agree. Now they never really tell you what they agree on. It is propaganda.”

So all scientists agree it’s probably warmer now than it was at the end of the Little Ice Age. Almost all Scientists agree that if you add CO2 you will have some warming. Maybe very little warming. But it is propaganda to translate that into it is dangerous and we must reduce CO2 etc.”

April 18, 2016

Richard Lindzen offered a presentation entitled “Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say,” where he claims that there is “much agreement” between climate change deniers and scientists who believe in human-caused climate change. [31]

The video was later labelled as “false information” by Facebook. In June 2020 It was defended by Marissa Streit, CEO of PragerU, in Newsweek. [103]

“How will free speech survive if Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Spotify—in essence, the modern-day ‘town square’—can strangle it?” Streit lamented. 

The video was hosted by PragerU, which also offers a presentation by Alex Epstein on why fossil fuels are “the greenest Energy,” and a variety of other videos from prominent climate change deniers including Bjorn Lomborg and Patrick Moore[32]  

According to their website, PragerU’s mission is to “spread what we call ‘Americanism’ through the power of the Internet. Our five-minute videos are conservative sound bites that clarify profoundly significant and uniquely American concepts for more than 100 million people each year.” They focus on “Judeo-Christian” values including “freedom of speech, a free press, free markets and a strong military to protect and project those values.” [33]

According to Conservative Transparency, PragerU has received $215,000 from the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. [34]

Video of Lindzen’s presentation below:


I’m an atmospheric physicist. I’ve published more than 200 scientific papers. For 30 years I taught at MIT, during which time the climate has changed remarkably little. But the cry of “global warming” has grown ever more shrill. In fact, it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get. So, let’s clear the air and create a more accurate picture of where we really stand on the issue of global warming or, as it is now called—“climate change.” 

There are basically three groups of people dealing with this issue. Groups one and two are scientists. Group three consists mostly, at its core, of politicians, environmentalists and the media. 

Group one is associated with the scientific part of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change or IPCC (Working Group 1). These are scientists who mostly believe that recent climate change is primarily due to man’s burning of fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas. This releases C02, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and, they believe, this might eventually dangerously heat the planet. 

Group two is made up of scientists who don’t see this as an especially serious problem. This is the group I belong to. We’re usually referred to as skeptics. 

We note that there are many reasons why the climate changes—the sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs. None of these is fully understood, and there is no evidence that CO2 emissions are the dominant factor. 

But actually there is much agreement between both groups of scientists. The following are such points of agreement:

1) The climate is always changing. 

2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming.

3) Atmospheric levels of CO2 have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century. 

4) Over this period (the past two centuries), the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or one degree Celsius; but only since the 1960’s have man’s greenhouse emissions been sufficient to play a role. 

5) Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made. The IPCC acknowledged in its own 2007 report that “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

November 19, 2015

Richard Lindzen was part of a group of climate change skeptics to speak at a “climate summit” arranged by the Texas Public Policy Foundation shortly before the UN climate summit in Paris. [11]

“Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial,” Lindzen said. “The most important thing to keep in mind is – when you ask ‘is it warming, is it cooling’, etc.  — is that we are talking about something tiny (temperature changes) and that is the crucial point.” [11]

Lindzen went on to claim that current climate change is “inconsequential,” saying that “When someone points to this and says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period. And they are arguing over hundredths of a degree when it is uncertain in tenths of a degree.”[11]

Lindzen also criticized EPA Chief Gina McCarthy’s education: “I don’t want to be snobbish, but U Mass Boston is not a very good school.”

March 1, 2015

Lindzen was listed as a writer/endorser of a Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPFbriefing paper titled “The Small Print: What the Royal Society Left Out“ that accused the Royal Society of “presenting a misleading picture of climate science.” [85][86]

As an example, the Royal Society addresses the question of why Antarctic sea ice is growing,” said Prof Ross McKitrick, the chairman of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council, “but in doing so they present a recently proposed hypothesis as if it were settled science. Failing to admit when the answer to an important question is simply not known does a disservice to the public. We believe that this new paper does a much better job of presenting the whole picture to the public.” [85]

The paper was written/endorsed by the following “experts”: [85]

December, 2014

Richard Lindzen is a contributor to the book Climate Change: The Facts published by the Institute of Public Affairs and featuring “22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate.” The Institute of Public Affairs, while not revealing most of its funders, is known to have received funding from mining magnate Gina Rinehart and at least one major tobacco company. [35]

The book includes essays and articles from a range of climate change skeptics, with contributors including the following:

According to Editor Alan Moran in a post at Catallaxy Files blog on Climate Change: the facts 2014, Richard Lindzen “demonstrates that the climate is relatively insensi­tive to increases in greenhouse gases, and that in any event a warmer world would have a similar variability in weather to that we have always seen.” [36]

September 18, 2014

Richard Lindzen writes a blog post for the Cato Institute titled, “Reflections on Rapid Response to Unjustified Climate Alarm,” detailing Cato’s Center for the Study of Science’s “rapid response center,” which aims to “identify and correct inappropriate and generally bizarre claims on behalf of climate alarm.” [37]

Lindzen writes that “climate alarm belongs to a class of issues characterized by a claim for which there is no evidence, that nonetheless appeals strongly to one of more interests of prejudices. Once the issue is adopted, evidence becomes irrelevant. Instead, the believer sees what he believes.”  [37]

Lindzen notes, “there is an important role for such a center … to reassure those who realize that this [climate alarm] is a fishy issue, that there remain scientists who are still concerned with the integrity of science … This is a problem that is truly worth of Cato’s attention.” [37]

August 2013

Lindzen publishes an article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons entitled, “Science in the Public Square: Global Climate Alarmism and Historical Precendents. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.” [38]

January 27, 2012

Lindzen is a signatory to an Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal titled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” [39]

Other signatories include

Skeptical Science summarized how the list of signatories “only includes four scientists who have actually published climate research in peer-reviewed journals, and only two who have published climate research in the past three decades.” Also, almost half have received funding from oil companies and big industry. [40]

Media Transparency reported similar findings in a in-depth analysis. [41]

March 8 – 10, 2009

Lindzen was a keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. [14]

Sponsors of the 2009 conference have collectively received over $47 million from energy companies and right-wing foundations.

March 8, 2007

Appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary. [42]

The Great Global Warming Swindle also starred fellow skeptics including, but not limited to: [42]

December 13, 2007

Lindzen was a signatory to a 2007 open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that declared “It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages.” [43]

The letter further explains how carbon dioxide is a “non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis” and why the IPCC‘s reports are “inadequate as justification” for implementing climate change policy. [43]

November, 2005

Lindzen was also a signatory to the 2005 Leipzig Declaration which describes the Kyoto Protocol as “dangerously simplistic, quite ineffective, and economically destructive to jobs and standards-of-living.” [44], [45]

The Declaration further states that “there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide.” [45]

The Declaration, available in two versions, was penned by prominent climate-change denier Fred Singer‘s Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP).  SEPP has received at least $20,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [46]

November, 2004

Lindzen made the claim that the climate would be significantly colder in 20 years.

When James Annan, a British climate researcher, approached Lindzen about solidifying a bet on the claim, Lindzen would only agree if Annan would accept a 50-to-1 payout (Annan did not agree to those terms).

Anan eventually made the $10,000 wager with two Russian Solar physicists, Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev. [47]

November 16, 2004

Lindzen signed a 2004 open letter to John McCain that refuted findings by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). [48]

The letter concludes that that past past warming in the arctic cannot be attributed to greenhouse gas concentrations:

“Arctic climate has and will continue to exhibit intricate patterns not reliably reproduced by global climate simulations, thus underscoring their scientific incompleteness and need for advances in Arctic climate science, in measurements, theory and models.”  [48]

It was signed by numerous prominent climate change skeptics including R. Timothy Patterson, Tim Ball, David Legates, Pat Michaels, Gary D. Sharp, Roy W. Spencer, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas.

September 30, 2002

Lindzen was the main speaker for a congressional media briefing, sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition, entitled “On The Meaning of Global Warming Claims.” [49]

May 2, 2001

Testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the subject of climate change.

Lindzen concluded that “If we view Kyoto as an insurance policy, it is a policy where the
premium appears to exceed the potential damages, and where the coverage extends to only a small fraction of the potential damages.” [50]


Lindzen is a signatory to the Oregon Petition, a controversial document first circulated in 1998 with an article that appeared to be a reprint of a National Academy of Science peer-reviewed article. [51]

The National Academy of Science has stated that it is not connected in any way with the Oregon Petition. [52]


As reported by Ross Gelbspan’s The Heat Is On, Richard Lindzen was among expert witnesses that were hired to testify on behalf of Western Fuels Association, a “$400 million consortium: of coal suppliers and coal-powered utilities.”  The hearings were to determine the environmental cost of burning coal by state power plants. [4]

Testimony documents below, via Greenpeace research documents:

  • 05/22/95 – Richard Lindzen [53]
  • 05/23/95 – Richard Lindzen (cont), Pat Michaels. Note that, when asked, Lindzen noted WFAhad paid expenses for a 1991 testimony [54]

According to Gelbspan, “Lindzen, for his part, charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC.” [4]

Lindzen claimed that the only time he had received coal money was when he was expert witness to the WFA case, The New York Times reported. [90]

May 24-25, 1993

Lindzen took part in a conference titled “Scientific Integrity in the Public Policy Process,” that was organized by SEPP and George Mason University’s International Institute. [55]

The conference invited numerous journalists to a “special media session,” where the organizers went through the conference’s overall themes which were described as follows: [55]

“The conference discussion underscored two themes: (1) the need for stringent, open, external peer-review of the scientific basis of federal environmental actions, and (2) distortions in the teaching of environmental issues, i.e. ‘Who peer-reviews what is being taught under the guise of environmental education?’” [55]

Lindzen spoke on a panel that accused any scientists supporting the conclusion of AGW (Anthropogenic [man-made] Global Warming) of “distorting the issues,” “distorting logic,” “using science to advance a political agenda,” and even “intimidating other scientists through coercion.” [55]

June, 1992

Lindzen is a signatory to the Heidelberg Appeal. The Heidelberg Appeal was created by the International Centre for Scientific Ecology, a public relations front group, during the 1992 UN World Summit. Eventually the document was endorsed by 4,000 scientists who declared that “we are worried at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at the emergence of an irrational ideology [man-made global warming] which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development.” [56]

The document also says that “many essential human activities are carried out by manipulating hazardous substances, and that progress and development have always involved increasing control over hostile forces.” 

Dr. Fred Singer and the International Centre for Scientific Ecology consented to the tobacco giant Philip Morris’ use of the Heidelberg Appeal to draw support to its European branch of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC)—TASSC Europe


According to Richard Lindzen, computer models used in predicting climate change are “generally recognized as experimental tools whose relation to the real world is questionable.” [9]


Lindzen appeared in “The Greening of Planet Earth,” a 1992 video by the Greening Earth Society (GES). GES was set up by the coal utility cooperative Western Fuels Association (WFA) “as a vehicle for advocacy on climate change, the environmental impact of CO2, and fossil fuel use.” [89][88]

In the video, Lindzen argued that “there is virtually no one who believes that the half-degree [of global warming observed] is due to greenhouse gases, because climate has always varied by itself, without man’s intervention.”



According to his curriculum vitae and Google Scholar, Dr. Lindzen has published numerous articles in the field of climatology, with many appearing in peer- reviewed journals. [76]

Skeptical Science notes that while Linzen has published a large body of peer-reviewed work, some of his points remain disputed. In one of Lindzen’s speaches, for example, both Lindzen and UK experts agree with some well-established “knowns” of climate science, however disagree with Lindzen’s supposition that scientific uncertainty means that scientists are ignorant on some key issues. [63]


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