Robert C. Balling Jr.

Robert C. Balling Jr.


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Oklahoma. [1]
  • M.A., Geography, Bowling Green State University. [1]
  • A.B., Geography, Wittenberg University. [1]


Robert C. Balling Jr. is a professor at the school of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU). He was the director of ASU‘s Office of Climatology from 1989 to 2004 when he became the director of the MASGIS program.

Balling acknowledged that he has received $408,000 in research funding from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade (of which his University takes 50% for overhead). Contributors have included ExxonMobil, the British Coal Corporation, Cyprus Minerals and OPEC. [2]

Balling is also the editor of the World Climate Report, a blog published by New Hope Environmental Services, an advocacy science consulting form run by global warming skeptic Patrick J. Michaels.

According to leaked documents, Robert C. Balling receives $1,000 per month from the Heartland Institute, an organization at the forefront of climate change skepticism.

Stance on Climate Change

“The scientific evidence argues against the existence of a greenhouse crisis, against the notion that realistic policies could achieve any meaningful climatic impact, and against the claim that urgent action is necessary to reduce the greenhouse threat.” [3]

Key Quotes

“All of us engage in activities that involve burning fossil fuels, and according to some self-proclaimed environmentalists we should feel guilty doing so due to the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) which can lead to ever-dreaded global warming. However, the botanical literature is full of 1,000s of articles showing that elevated atmospheric concentrations of CO2 will be beneficial for plants throughout the world… . We see the forest and we see the trees, and they both thank us for the CO2 we’re adding to the atmosphere… .So drive out to the forest and feel good about the CO2 coming out of your tailpipe!” [4]

“… elevated atmospheric CO2 will produce biological miracles all over the world.” [5]

“Life has existed on our planet for billions of years, and the climate over that time has changed from ice ages to periods much warmer than today. There is little doubt that as our cities grow, heat waves will be more severe in the urban areas. If global warming does in fact add to the problem, we will adapt to the new world, just as humans have done for millions of years.” [6]

Key Deeds

March 2008

Balling was a speaker at the Heartland Institute’s First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1) where he gave a presentation titled “The Increase in Global Temperature: What It Does and Does Not Tell Us.” [28]


Robert C. Balling gave a presentation titled ” A Climate of Doubt About Global Warming” at numerous venues in 2006, 2007, and 2008. [7]

December 12, 2003

Spoke at Cato Institute conference titled “Global Warming: The State of the Debate” which featured numerous climate change skeptics including John Christy, Patrick J. Michaels, Robert Mendelsohn, and Indur Goklany. [8]

April 10, 2000

Balling co-published The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming with fellow climate change skeptic Patrick J. Michaels.

The book was published by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that has collectively received over $13 Million from Koch foundations and and $125,2000 from ExxonMobil.

The core argument of the book is that “Global warming is vastly overrated as an environmental threat,” “a largely mythical problem” and that the scientific community will eventually “concede that earlier forecasts dramatically exaggerated the threat of global warming.” [9] 


Balling co-published a study with Craig Idso titled “The 2000 United States Historical Climate Network Update: What Changed?”

The study received $49,500 in funding from the ExxonMobil foundation. [10]

June 25–28, 1998

Balling attended a conference hosted by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) titled “Junk Science: A Hazard to Your Health.”

According to Balling, factors such as volcanic activity, and solar activity are the cause of recent climate change:

“It may be as simple as the sun gets brighter and the world gets warmer,” he said. “A lot is happening in this area.” There is a “strong relation to temperature and solar output” and good scientists are contending that warming, if real, “may be entirely related to the sun.” [11]

Among the other arguments presented by Balling include that “It’s going to come back down, it always has. There is still no warming trend over the past two decades,” that global satellites show cooling rather than warming, that hurricanes and severe storms will be less in a co2-rich world, that global warming science has become a “big industry,” and with reference to global warming, “It’s all nonsense. This is the definition of junk science.”

According Skeptical Science‘s list of common arguments presented by climate change skeptics, virtually all of Balling’s arguments are false. According to SourceWatch, the term “Junk Science” has often been used in lobbying activities in attempt to discredit scientists who express concerns about consumer safety and environmental risks. “Junk Science” has also been a popular term used by Steve Milloy, a past advocate for Phillip Morris.


Balling was mentioned in Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 book, The Heat is On, as being funded by the fossil fuel industry. The Minnesota Star Tribune later ran an editorial on the disinformation campaign by some climatologists.

Robert Balling and his colleague Patrick Michaels, a fellow climate change skeptic, took a complaint against the Star Tribune to the Minnesota News Council.

Balling to particular objection to the Star’s claim that “… whenever you read or hear the opinions of skeptics Patrick Michaels, S. Fred Singer and Robert Balling, know that their ideas and opinions have been carefully considered by a host of climate scientists, and found to be without merit.”

The Star Tribune’s defence was that “Though Dr. Michaels’ curriculum vitae (CV) shows him to have accomplished much in his field, many knowledgeable people nevertheless consider his views on global warming unfounded. Michaels’ own writings, hearings testimony and speeches – not an editorial in the Star Tribune – have led to highly controversial status in the scientific community. The editorial simply alerted readers to Michaels’ role in downplaying potential dangers of global warming …”

At the 1998 Hearing, Balling acknowledged that he had received $408,000 in research funding from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade. [2]


Balling spoke at a conference sponsored by the Pacific Research Institute entitled “Junk Science: A Hazard to Your Health” which featured climate change skeptic Robert Balling who lectured on how mainstream global warming science was “Junk Science.” [21]

May 1995

Robert C. Balling Jr. served as an expert witness on behalf of Western Fuels Association in St. Paul, Minnesota to determine the environmental cost of coal burning by state power plants. [22]

Witnesses provided written testimony (document id 18319 and 13820) and verbal testimony, about which Ross Gelbspan’s The Heat Is On (1995) is a key source. [23][24]

Testimony documents below, via Greenpeace research documents:


According to a report by Ozone Action (PDF), Robert Balling received significant levels of funding since 1989 from the Kuwait government, foreign coal/mining corporations and Cyprus Minerals Company. Reproduced below are the notable funding sources compiled in the report: [12]

Funding SourceFunding Recipient (s)Name of StudyFunding AmountYear
British Coal CorporationRobert Balling, Randall Cerveny, Sherwood IdsoImplications of Potential Northern Hemisphere Warming for British Frontal Storms$29,7121991
British Coal CorporationRobert Balling, Sherwood ldsoAnalysis of British Temperature and Precipitation Records: Search for the Greenhouse Signal$34,0571991
British Coal CorporationRobert Balling, Sherwood ldsoAnalysis of British Temperature and Precipitation Records: Search for the Greenhouse Signal$39,7751992
Cyprus Minerals CompanyRobert Balling, Randall Cerveny, Sherwood IdsoAnalysis of Hurricane Activity During Warm and Cold Years$19,8221989
Cyprus Minerals CompanyRobert Balling, Sherwood IdsoHow Changes in Cloud Cover Moderate Greenhouse Warming$13,4301990
Cyprus Minerals CompanyRobert Balling, Sherwood IdsoGreenhouse Cooling$13,4301990
Cyprus Minerals CompanyRobert Balling, Sherwood IdsoThe Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect and US Precipitation Trends: Is There a Super Dust Bowl in our Future?$13,4301990
Cyprus Minerals CompanyRobert Balling, Sherwood IdsoLikely Effects of Greenhouse Warming on Maximum Summer Temperatures$12,4421989
German Mining CorporationRobert BallingAnalysis of Global-Scale Trends in the Diurnal Temperature Range$41,8001995
German Mining CorporationRobert BallingAnalysis of Global-Scale Trends in the Diurnal Temperature Range$39,9801993
Kenneth BarrRobert BallingAnalysis of Australian Temperature Variations During the Period of Instrumental Record $4,9041992
Kuwait  Foundation for the Adv. of SciencesRobert Balling, Hassan NasrallahAnalysis of Recent Climatic Changes in the Arab Peninsula Region$48,9931993



The now-defunct Greening Earth Society, an organization controlled by the Western Fuels Association, once described Balling as “one of the world’s most prolific contributors to the scientific literature on global warming.”

It is unclear whether this statement is true, but a full list of Robert C. Balling’s publications, some of which are on the subject of climate, is available at the Arizona State University (PDF).


  • Robert C. Balling, and Martin A. J. Williams, Interactions of Desertification & Climate, Oxford University Press, October 1995, ISBN 0-340-63217-8.
  • Patrick Michaels and Robert C. Balling, The Satanic Gases: clearing the air about global warming, Cato Institute, 2000 ASIN: 1882577914.
  • Patrick Michaels and Robert C. Balling, Climate of extremes: global warming science they don’t want you to know, Cato Institute, 2009.
  • Robert C. Balling, The Heated Debate: greenhouse predictions versus climate reality, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, April 1992, ISBN 0-936488-47-6


  1. Robert Balling,” Profile at Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning. Accessed April 19, 2012.
  2. Determination 118: Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling v. Star Tribune,” Minnesota News Council, April 16th, 1998.
  3. Robert C. Balling Jr. “Global Warming: Messy Models, Decent Data, Pointless Policy,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, November 1, 1994.
  4. Dr. Robert Balling. “The Forest and the Trees,” Tech Central Station, June 18, 2003. Archived October 2, 2003.
  5. Dr. Robert Balling. “Aerial Fertilizer,” Tech Central Station, July 21, 2003. Archived October 3, 2003.
  6. Robert C. Balling. “Heat Wave Hot Air,” TCS Daily, August 4, 2005.
  7. Robert Balling,” Profile at Arizona State University. Accessed April, 2012.
  8. Global Warming: The State of the Debate,” Cato Institute. Accessed April, 2012.
  9. The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming (Paperback),” The Cato Institute. Accessed April, 2012.
  10. Curriculum Vitae: Dr. Robert C. Balling, Jr. (PDF). Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning, March 29, 2012.
  11. Junk Science: A Hazard to Your Health,” Pacific Research Institute. Archived June 25, 2004.
  12. Ties That Blind: Case Studies of Corporate Influence on Climate Change Policy,” Greenpeace research document. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  13. Staff,” World Climate Report, March 15, 2005.
  14. Scientific Advisors,” The Greening Earth Society. Archived October 21, 2001.
  15. Senior Fellows,” Goldwater Institute. Accessed April, 2012.
  16. Dr. Robert C. Balling, Jr.,” Tech Central Station. Archived October 3, 2003.
  17. CFACT Board of Advisors,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, July 8, 2009.
  18. Robert C. Balling, Jr.,” Profile at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Accessed April, 2012.
  19. Robert C Balling,” Profile at the International Policy Network. Accessed April 19, 2012.
  20. “Heartland Experts: Robert Balling,” The Heartland Institute. Accessed April, 2012.
  21. Junk Science: A Hazard to Your Health,” Pacific Research Institute. Archived April 10, 2006.
  22. Ross Gelbspan. “The Heat is On:The warming of the world’s climate sparks a blaze of denial,” Harper’s Magazine, December, 1995. Archived February 25, 2016 from WebCite URL
  23. Dear Dr. Haar,” Doherty Rumble & Butler, March 15, 1995. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  24. Curriculum Vita” (PDF), March 6, 1995. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.
  25. Environmental Costs (PDF), Vol. 8 (May 23, 1995). Retrieved from Greenpeace USA. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  26. Distorting the Debate: A Case Study of Corporate Greenwashing,” Ozone Action, May 15, 1991. Retrieved from Greenpeace USA research archives. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 
  27. Robert Nilsson. “Environmental Tobacco Smoke Revisited: The reliability of the evidence for risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular desease,” The European Science and Environment Forum, March 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates Number : 518988738-518988770.
  28. “First International Conference on Climate Change, Program,” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived January 23, 2018. 

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