Chris de Freitas


Chris de Freitas


  • PhD (Queensland)
  • MA (Toronto)
  • BA (Hons),

Source: [1]


De Freitas is an Associate Professor at the School of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Auckland. He was the editor of Climate Research journal when certain questionable papers were published that led several editors to resigned in protest, pointing to the journal's flawed peer review process.

According to his profile at the University of Auckland, “he has served as Deputy Dean of Science, Head of Science and Technology at the Tamaki campus and four years as Pro Vice Chancellor. He has been Vice President of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand and is a founding member of the Australia New Zealand Climate Forum. He is Vice President elect of the International Society of Biometeorology. For 10 years he was an editor of the international journal 'Climate Research'. Chris was an expert reviewer of the 1995 and the 2001 Scientific Assessment Reports of United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UK Department of the Environment 1996 Report 'Potential Effects of Climate Change in the United Kingdom'.” [1]

Stance on Climate Change

“'I do not dispute that the carbon dioxide rise in the atmosphere is largely from the use of fossil fuels,' he tells the Herald.

'No doubt rising carbon dioxide could “change the climate”. The basic physics is there to support this view. But where is the evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging?'

In more extreme weather events perhaps? De Freitas doesn't accept that extreme weather events are linked to human induced climate change (global warming).

'It is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation,' he wrote in 2007. As far as he's concerned the climate has always changed - naturally. And the fact that global carbon dioxide emissions last year rose by a record amount to almost 31 billion tonnes is neither here nor there.” [2]

Key Quotes

“I am not a global warming sceptic. I accept that rising human-caused CO2 from fossil sources could 'change the climate'. The basic physics is there to support this view. But where is the evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging?” [7]

Key Deeds

October 1, 2010

Chris de Freitas spoke at the Heartland Institute's “Pac-Rim Conference on Climate Change.”

October 25, 2006

Chris de Freitas was one of several scientists submitting amicus brief organized by Competitive Enterprise Institute on Carbon Dioxide pollution case before Supreme Court. [3]

January, 2003

As a former editor Climate Research, de Freitas was involved in a controversy surrounding a research article (PDF) co-authored by Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon. The article reviewed previous scientific papers and came to the conclusion that the climate hasn't changed in the last 2000 years. [4]

But 13 of the authors that had been cited in the paper by Baliunas and Soon refuted the interpretation of their work. 

Among the sharp criticisms of the Climate Research paper was one from Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. When von Storch, then the journal’s editor, read Mann's critique, he said he realized his journal should never have accepted the study: “If it would have been properly reviewed, it would have been rejected on the basis of methodological flaws.” Shortly after, Von Storch, along with two other members of the Climate Research editorial board resigned in protest—“they submitted flawed research,” Von Stroch stated at the time. [5]

“And at least three scientists who were on the journal's peer-review panel–Wolfgang Cramer, Tom Wigley and Danny Harvey–have complained that de Freitas has published papers they have deemed unacceptable without notifying them.” [6]

After the controversy a more extensive version of the research was published in Energy and Environment, operated by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen. Senator James Inhofe used the article as proof that climate change is caused by natural variability rather than human activity.

DeSmogBlog has described how de Freitas opened the door for papers, some quite dubious, by a set of people mostly listed in this directory. They'd never published in CR before he arrived and they essentially disappeared after von Storch resigned.



According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, de Freitas has published four research articles in peer-reviewed journals.

A full list of his publications is available at the University of Auckland.


  1. Dr Chris de Freitas,” The University of Auckland. Accessed December 9, 2011.

  2. The climate dissenter holds his ground,” The New Zealand Herald, July 16, 2011.

  3. Amici Curiae Brief of Climatologists and Scientists Sallie Baliunas, John R. Christy, Chris De Freitas, David Legates, Anthony Lupo, Patrick Michaels, Joel Schwartz, and Roy W. Spencer in Support of Respondents,” CEI, October 24, 2006. Archived August 27, 2007.

  4. Climate study just hot air say critics,” New Zealand Herald. August 7, 2003.

  5. Three Journal Editors Resign Over Paper by Skeptics,” The Heat is Online, July 29, 2003.

  6. Politics in Peer Review?”, Scientific American, June 24, 2003.

  7. Chris de Freitas not a skeptic,” Heretics Corner, September 2011.

  8. Experts,” ICECAP. Accessed December 9, 2011.

  9. About US & Contact,” The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. Accessed December 9, 2011.

  10. Who We Are,” International Climate Science Coalition. Accessed December 9, 2011.

  11. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Chris DeFreitas

  12. Deniers: Scientists: Chris DeFreitas,” ExxonSecrets Wiki.