Richard S. Courtney


Richard S. Courtney


  • BA, Open. [1]
  • DipPhil, Cambridge. [1]
  • Diploma (Bath). [1]

According to SourceWatch there has been some confusion as to whether Richard S. Courtney holds an academic degree. In some cases he is referred to without any academic degree [2], [3]. In other cases he has been described as “Dr. Richard S. Courtney,” [4], [5] or “Richard S. Courtney, Ph.D.” [6]

A DipPhil is a diploma in philosophy, and should not be confused with a Doctorate. [7]

Interestingly, Courtney’s profile states that “Richard avoids confusion about him in his scientific and religious activities by rarely citing his academic achievements.”


Richard S. Courtney is the Technical Editor for CoalTrans International, a journal of the international coal trading industry.

In the early 1990s Courtney was a Senior Material Scientist of the National Coal Board (also known as British Coal) and a Science and Technology spokesman of the British Association of Colliery Management.

The Heartland Institute describes Courtney as “an independent consultant on matters concerning energy and the environment,” and a “technical advisor” to several UK MPs. [8]

Courtney is a member of the the editorial board of Energy & Environment, a journal known for publishing the papers of climate change skeptics. He was also a founding member of the now-defunct European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF). ESEF was part of the “sound science” movement and had connections to the tobacco industry.

According to one profile: “Richard is a respected authority on energy issues, especially clean coal technology. He has been the Senior Materials Scientist of the UK’s Coal Research Establishment, has served as a Technical Advisor to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), possesses several patents, and has published papers in many journals including Nature, Microscopy and Filtration. He is the author of the chapter on coal in Kempes Engineers Yearbook.”

He is also  “an Accredited Methodist Preacher,” and a founding Member of the Christ and the Cosmos Initiative “that explores the interactions of religious and scientific ideas.” [1]

Stance on Climate Change

Courtney is a signatory to the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change which asserts that “human-caused climate change is not a global crisis,” that “(CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life,” that industrial carbon dioxide emissions do not affect climate change, and that “warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder.”

Key Quotes

“The warming period from ~1970 to ~2000 was sandwiched between the cooling periods of ~1940 to ~1970 and ~2000 to the present. The changes between these warming and cooling periods coincide with phase reversals of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and, therefore, it seems that the present lack of warming is likely to continue for the next two decades.” [9]

Key Deeds

April 22, 2016

Richard Courtney was a signatory to a complaint to the BBC (PDF), accusing it of bias on climate change coverage for not including the positions of climate change skeptics. [22]

“We and many others alongside us have come to the opinion that the BBC‘s continuing bias on the climate question – its performance is too often like a scientifically illiterate, naïve, oft times emotive green activist organisation – is unacceptable and must now be brought to an end. In future, both sides in the climate debate must be fairly heard, whether BBC staff like it or not,” the letter reads. [22]

Among the letter’s recommendations is to “arrange for Lord Monckton to co-ordinate a team of leading sceptical scientists and economists to give a day-long, high-level briefing for senior BBC executives.” [22]

It suggests that “The Trust should require that the section on ‘Consensus’ in the impartiality topic under the BBC‘s Guidelines should be rewritten or deleted,” and that “The BBC should employ at least one climate sceptic in a senior journalistic role,” among numerous other recommendations. [22]

The complaint was posted on Paul Homewood’s blog, NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat. [23]

Signatories included:

June 15, 2010

Courtney’s name appears on the International Climate Science Coalitions’s “Climate Scientists’ Register.” [10]

March 30, 2009

Courtney’s signature is displayed alongside a full-page ad funded by the CATO institute that appeared in numerous newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune in 2009.

The advertisement criticizes President Obama’s declaration that “few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change,” stating that “with all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.” It goes on to describe how “there has been no net global warming for over a decade,” and that the dangers related to global warming are “grossly overstated.” [11]

July 14, 2008

Richard Courtney was signatory to an open letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calling for the UN to “lead the UN into abandoning the CO2-based theory of global warming and nullifying its former recommendations.” [24]

“The assertion that the recent rapid rise of CO2 is unique and dangerous is both deceptive and irrelevant because CO2 does not drive the world’s climate,” the letter claimed, adding “ there is clearly no evidence for the CO2-based theory of global warming. Indeed, there is only evidence against it.” [24]

The letter was signed by many notable climate change deniers, including but not limited to: [24]

March 2008

Courtney was a speaker at the First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1) where he presented the research findings of fellow climate change skeptic Zbigniew Jaworowski. [12] 

The conference is hosted by the industry-funded Heartland Institute and focuses on “research that contradicts claims that Earth’s moderate warming during the twentieth century primarily was man-made and has reached crisis proportions.”

March 2–4, 2008.

Courtney was a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change which was presented to all attendees of Heartland Institute’s 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. [13]

The declaration recommends “that world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

June 2003

Courtney was a signatory to an open letter to Paul Martin opposing the Kyoto Protocol. [4]

June 2000

Courtney represented ESEF in a briefing co-sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition in 2000 called “Climate Is not Warming – Has not Warmed in 60 Years” where he claimed to be an IPCC “expert reviewer” and stated a lack of measured global warming. [14]

The four-member panel at the briefing consisted of Richard Courtney, Harry N.A. Priem (Netherlands), S. Fred Singer (USA), and Gerd-Rainer Weber (Germany).

November 1995

Courtney was one of the first people to sign the 1995 “Leipzig Declaration,” a project of Fred Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project and a group called the European Academy of Environmental Affairs. The declaration stated that “there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide.” [15]

According to Sourcewatch, when a Danish journalist attempted to contact the 33 European scientists listed on the petition, 12 denied signing the petition and some had not even heard of the Leipzig Declaration. Of those that did admit to signing the letter, one was a doctor and another was an expert on flying insects. The declaration was then revised and Richard Courtney’s name, among others, was removed. [16]

It is interesting to note that a similar tactic was used in the Oregon Institute’s petition that DeSmog reported on earlier in our research of the letter of 60 scientists to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Fred Singer and his organization and the George C. Marshall Institute were also deeply involved in the Oregon Petition.



According to a search of 22,000 publications, Courtney has not published any research in the area of climate change.

He has written opinion papers expressing his concern over the loss of jobs in the coal industry as a result of the UK‘s movement towards renewable energy. He has published one article in the journal Energy and Environment, which has previously been criticized for its peer review process.

Sample Publications:

  • CRYSTAL BALLS, VIRTUAL REALITIES ANDSTORYLINES,” Energy & Environment, Vol 12, Number 4 (July 2001).
  • “Wind Farms Provide Negligible Useful Electricity” (PDF), Center for Science and Public Policy, March, 2006.
  • “Biofuels: a solution worse than the problem they try to address?” (PDF), The Science and Public Policy Institute, March 12, 2008.


  1. Richard S. Courtney. “Wind Farms Provide Negligible Useful Electricity” (PDF), Center for Science and Public Policy, March 2006. Republished by Frontiers of Freedom.
  2. “Facts versus Factions: the use and abuse of subjectivity in scientific research” (PDF), ESEF Working Paper, February 1998.
  3. The threat of climate change,” eco-logic Powerhouse, August 2004. Archived September 25, 2004.
  4. Protocol lacks ‘credible science’,” Financial Post, Wednesday, June 4, 2003. Republished by
  5. Treibhaus-Kontroverse und Ozon-Problem: Symposium der Europäischen Akademie für Umweltfragen Leipzig 9.-10.” November 1995,”
  6. Sceptical climate science discussion group celebrates 1st year:
    Sceptical Climate Science Discussion Group
    ,” The Scientific Alliance, November 22, 2002. Archived May 20, 2006.
  7. On the astounding DipPhil Courtney,” Rabett Run, February 3, 2008.
  8. Richard S. Courtney,” (Website of the Heartland Institute’s 6th International Conference on Climate Change). Accessed December 3, 2011.
  9. Has the IPCC rendered itself irrelevant?”, Climate Progress, April 15, 2009. See comment #41 by “Richard S Courtney.”
  10. The Climate Scientists’ Register Endorsers,” International Climate Science Coalition. Accessed December 3, 2011.
  11. Climate Change Reality,” The Cato Institute.
  12. Richard S. Courtney, DipPhil,” video (uploaded by the  Heartland Institute), accessed December 4, 2011.
  14. CLIMATE IS NOT WARMINGHAS NOT WARMED IN 60 YEARS: A Briefing by the Science & Environmental Policy Project at COP-6,” The Science and Environmental Policy Project, Nov 21, 2000. Archived February 15, 2007.
  15. The Leipzig Declaration,” (Original version), Accessed December 3, 2011.
  16. Richard S. Courtney,” SourceWatch.
  17. Richard S. Courtney. “‘Renewable’ energy technologies can’t hack it in the market place,The New Australian, No. 134 (September 20-26, 1999).
  18. Coal is cool,” New Scientist (Opinion Section), October 22, 1994. Archived May 10, 2007.
  19. Open letter to Paul Martin. The Financial Post, June 4, 2003. Republished by the Science and Environmental Policy Project. Archived March 26, 2009.
  20. CFACT Board of Advisors,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Accessed March 2, 2012.
  21. Heartland Experts: Mr. Richard Courtney,” The Heartland Institute. Accessed March 2, 2012.
  22. “Complaint of BBC prejudice in covering of climate change and warning of potential judicial review” (PDF), Retrieved from NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.
  23. Paul Homewood. “Major New Complaint Submitted To BBC Over Climate Bias,” NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat, April 25, 2016. Archived August 12, 2016. URL:
  24. “The UN Climate Change Panel must be called to account and cease its deceptive practices- Policies based on false science must be ended” (PDF), July 14, 2008. Retrieved from Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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