New Zealand-based academic and climate sceptic Dr Chris de Freitas has been caught using material from US lobby groups in lectures to first year university Geography students.
Students who listened to the “Geography 101” lectures on climate from Dr de Freitas, an associate professor at The University of Auckland’s School of Environment, admitted to being “quite convinced” that a scientific debate was still raging over the causes of global warming.
A report in the New Zealand Herald highlighted how Dr de Freitas had ignored key texts, ignored recent extreme weather events and argued that climate change was almost entirely down to natural variations.
In the lecture notes, published by author Gareth Renowden on his Hot Topic blog, one student wrote in the margins that “CO2 has a lot of beneficial effects… don’t believe the propaganda”.
Renowden pointed out:
Renowden discovered that Dr de Freitas was using material from retired meteorologist Joe D’Aleo and Christopher Monckton - both advisors to a number of climate denier think-tanks with links to fossil fuel funding.
Both are advisers to the Science and Public Policy Institute. Also an advisor to the SPPI is Dr David Legates, who was recently asked to step down as Delaware’s state climatologist.
Dr de Freitas came to prominence when the journal Climate Research, for which he was an editor, published a controversial paper in 2003 by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas which argued contemporary climate change was not happening.
Some 13 of the editors cited in the paper complained they had been misrepresented. The paper prompted the resignation of three members of the editorial board, including editor-in-chief Hans von Storch, who said the research was flawed.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Dr Soon’s entire research income since 2002 had come from fossil fuel interests, including the American Petroleum Institute and Southern Company.