H. Leighton Steward

H. Leighton Steward


  • Master of Science (Geology). [1]


H. Leighton Steward is the President and Chairman of Plants Need CO2, a group founded in 2009 with the mission “to educate the public on the positive effects of additional atmospheric CO2 and help prevent the inadvertent negative impact to human, plant and animal life if we reduce CO2.”

Plants Need CO2 was listed as Number four among Mother Jones's “Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial” in December, 2009. [2]

He is the Chairman of the Institute for the Study of Earth and  Man (ISEM) Board of Trustees, and was Vice Chairman of the American oil and gas company Burlington Resources, Inc. until his retirement in 2000.

According to his profile at EOG Resources (formerly Enron Oil and Gas Company) where he is a director, Steward has extensive experience in the oil and gas exploration and production industry and has also worked with The Louisiana Land and Exploration Company as President, Chief Operating Officer and, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer from 1989 until its acquisition by Burlington Resources Inc. in 1997. [3]

Stance on Climate Change

“… carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a major contributor to current global warming nor to Earth's paleoclimates.” [4]

Key Quotes

“More CO2 is needed to bolster plant life, which turns the gas into oxygen while also providing food.”

“Temperatures over time have fluctuated while CO2 levels have remained steady. What's more, temperature increases have historically led increases in CO2 levels.”

“Many, many reputable scientists believe that natural factors overpower the current influence of CO2 on global warming.”

CO2 is a great airborne fertilizer, which, as its concentrations rise, causes additional plant growth and causes plants to need less water.”

“The warning level of CO2 in submarines isn't reached until the atmosphere has 8,000 parts per million of CO2.” [5]

Key Deeds

September 26, 2014

H. Leighton Steward attends the “At the Crossroads; Energy & Climate Policy Summit” in Houston, Texas, hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and The Heritage Foundation. Steward presents in “Panel V: Prosperity and Poverty,” with Calvin Beisner. [14]

July 7 - 9, 2014

Steward was a speaker at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. [13]

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

Steward was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

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.

July 14, 2010

CO2 is Green, the sister organization of Steward's “Plants Need CO2” released an ad campaign fighting the president's cap-and-trade bill.

The ad, featured in The Washington Post, urges people to vote against “the president's cap-and-trade bill that will increase your cost of living and not change the climate.”

According to the ad, “The bill is based on the false premise that man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change. Real, empirical evidence indicates it is not.” [6]

Steward is the spokesman and Chairman for CO2 is Green, as well as the President and Chair of Plants Need CO2.

May 16 - 18, 2010

Steward was a keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute's 4th International Conference on Climate Change. [7]


Published “Fire, Ice and Paradise” which he describes as “an educational book for the non-scientist, including politicians, regarding the many factors affecting global climate change.”

“The bottom-line summary of the author's opinion after research of the scientific literature is that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a major contributor to current global warming nor to Earth's paleoclimates.”

According to Leighton Steward, “In addition to being shown to not being a significant driver of current temperature change, CO2 is shown to be a positive factor in Earth's ecosystems, a benefit to the plant (food) kingdom and thus the animal kingdom, which includes humanity.” [4]



According to a search of Google Scholar, Steward has not published any articles in peer-reviewed journals on any subject.



  1. REGISTER ENDORSERS FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA of The Climate Scientists' Register,” International Climate Science Coalition. Accessed May, 2012.

  2. Josh Harkinson. “No. 4: Plants Need C02,” Mother Jones (Part of “The Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial series), December 4, 2009.

  3. Officers/Board,” eog resources. Accessed May 7, 2012.

  4. “Recommended Reading List: 'Fire, Ice and Paradise', Steward, H.L. (2009),” Planes Need CO2. Accessed May , 2012. Archived May 7, 2012 with WebCite.

  5. Paul Bedard. “Steward's 10 'Myths' About Global Warming and CO2 Damage,” Washington Whispers, October 9, 2009.

  6. Anne C. Mulkern. “Ads Backed by Fossil-Fuel Interests Argue 'CO2 Is Green',” The New York Times, July 14, 2010.

  7. Speakers,” 4th International Conference on Climate Change, May 9 , 2010. Archived June 10, 2011.

  8. 2009 Form 990 for Plants Need CO2.org (PDF). Retrieved from foundationcenter.org.

  9. Institute Trustees,” Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. Accessed May 7, 2012.

  10. Daniel F. Cuff. “BUSINESS PEOPLE; Louisiana Land Gives President 2 More Titles,” The New York Times, November 17, 1988.

  11. H. Leighton Steward,” SourceWatch.

  12. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: H. Leighton Steward.

  13. Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmogBlog, July 7, 2014. Archived July 14, 2014.

  14. H. Leighton Steward. “Speakers,” At the Crossroads; Energy & Climate Policy Summit, Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, September 25/26, 2014.