David Legates

David Legates

David Legates


  • B.S. in Mathematics and Geography.
  • M.S. degree in Geography-Climatology 
  • Ph.D. in Climatology, University of Delaware.

Source: [1]


David R. Legates is a Joint Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware. [2] In 2005, Legates was designated as Delaware's State Climatologist. [3]

Legates was later asked to step down as State Climatologist by the Dean of the University. Although no one at the university was willing to explain the reason for replacing Legates as the State Climatologist, Greenpeace speculates that the reason may have been Legates's close ties with Willie Soon. [23]

In 2007,  then-governor Ruth Ann Minner asked Legates to stop using his formal title in public statements on climate change policy. Minner wrote:

Your views on climate change, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my administration. In light of my position and due to the confusion surrounding your role with the state, I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware, and not as state climatologist.” [23]

Legates and Soon have authored numerous papers together, including a controversial 2007 “polar bear study” that was partially funded by Koch Industries. Legates was the co-author on four of the 11 papers that Soon received fossil fuel funding for – and failed to disclose in the paper. [24], [25]

Legates maintains affiliations with numerous conservative think tanks that oppose climate change regulation or are skeptical of man-made global warming, including the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) where he has been an “Adjunct Scholar” and “Environmental Expert.” [11], [12]

Stance on Climate Change

Legates is a signatory of the Oregon Petition, which states that “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”


“Climate, however, is not static. It is highly variable, on timescales from years to millennia – for reasons that include, but certainly are not limited to, human activity.” [29]


“Overall, it appears that anthropogenic climate change estimates are still uncertain (given the discrepancies between most models) and scenarios derived from still incomplete GCMs should not be used to assess future climate change or make national assessments.” [4]

Key Quotes

July, 2016

“Students are increasingly being fed climate change advocacy as a surrogate for becoming climate science literate. This makes them easy targets for the climate alarmism that pervades America today.” [29]

“I fear that our climate science curriculum has been co-opted, to satisfy the climate change fear-mongering agenda that pervades our society today. Instead of teaching the science behind Earth’s climate, advocates have taken the initiative to convert it to a social agenda of environmental activism.” [29]


Legates concludes at the Heartland Institute's Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) that it is “difficult to continue to argue that the climate, of the US at least, is becoming more extreme.” [21]


Regarding the IPCC: “I am not a reviewer, because reviewing the IPCC allows them to put your name on the list, and then you become one of the 'major scientists,' twenty-five hundred or so, that are supposedly 'all in agreement.' I do know that there was a lot of concern, but not much of that made it into the final document.” [5]

“The IPCC really is a sham because while it gives the impression of being a consensus of scientists, it is simply a political document prepared by advocacy scientists with a large ax to grind.”[5]

Key Deeds

July 8 - 10, 2016

David Legates was a speaker at 34th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, co-sponsored by Access to Energy, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, and Physicians for Civil Defense. [19]

Legates's talk was titled “Freedom of Information Act and Academic Freedom in Climate Science.” [19]

DDP listed the following speakers at their event: [19]

March 31, 2016

Following the U.S. premier of CFACT'sClimate Hustle,” David Legates appeared on a panel alongside Sarah Palin, Lamar Smith, and Brent Bozell, Marc Morano's Climate Depot reports. [35]

Climate Hustle was produced by the Committee for Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and CDR Communications. As noted at Desmog's project, ClimateHustler.org,  CFACT has received funding from ExxonMobil, Chevron, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars from foundations associated with Richard Mellon ScaifeCFACT has also received at least $7.8 million in “dark money” through DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund[32], [33]

CDR Communications was behind the 2010 video by the Cornwall Alliance titled Resisting the Green Dragon, which claimed environmentalism was a “false religion” and a “global government” power grab. Chris Rogers of CDR Communictions is also chairman of The James Partnership, the umbrella arm that includes the Cornwall Alliance as one of its projects and pays the salary of Calvin Beisner, Cornwall’s founder and spokesperson. [34]

Individuals listed as “Key Scientists” in Climate Hustle include the following: [32]

June 11-12, 2015

David Legates was a speaker on Panel 1: “Climate Science,” at the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, D.C., with Willie Soon and Patrick Michaels. [20]

View David Legates’ Panel 1 presentation at the Heartland Institute’s ICCC10, below: [21]

Legates was also presented the “Courage in Defense of Science Award” at the conference. [28]

May 12, 2015

David Legates is a signatory to an open letter to Pope Francis on climate change. The letter invites the Pope to reconsider his views on climate change before his upcoming encyclical letter on the environment, which is widely expected to call for measures to prevent climate change in the interests of the world’s poor. [43]

The open letter was coordinated and signed by Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance. According to the letter, “Good climate policy must recognize human exceptionalism, the God-given call for human persons to 'have dominion' in the natural world (Genesis 1:28), and the need to protect the poor from harm, including actions that hinder their ascent out of poverty.” [17]

Another excerpt below:

”[…] the [climate] models are wrong. They therefore provide no rational basis to forecast dangerous human-induced global warming, and therefore no rational basis for efforts to reduce warming by restricting the use of fossil fuels or any other means.”

Judith Curry comments on her blog Climate Etcthat “Arguably the most effective 'pushback' [to the encyclical letter] comes from Cal Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, who coordinated An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change.” [18]

April, 2015

David Legates co-authored a report, that has been cited in the media to claim that the 97% consensus is “bogus.” According to The Daily Signal, Legates, Willie Soon, William Briggs, and Christopher Monckton “found that a mere 1 percent of the 4,014 papers expressing an opinion on climate change claim that the majority of warming since 1950 is man-made.” [30], [31]

January, 2015

David Legates is a co-author, along with Willie Soon, William M. Briggs, and Christopher Monckton, of a paper in Science Bulletin titled “Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model” (PDF). [22]

The paper concludes that “it appears that the impact of anthropogenic global warming over the next century, and even as far as equilibrium many millennia hence, may be no more than one-third to one-half of IPCC’s current projections.”

June, 2014

In June 2014, Legates testified at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about droughts and agriculture, stating: “My overall conclusion is that droughts in the United States are more frequent and more intense during colder periods. Thus, the historical record does not warrant a claim that global warming is likely to negatively impact agricultural activities.” [38]

March, 2013

In March 2013, Legates appeared on the same stage as Willie Soon at a Georgetown, Delaware debate on global warming. Legates told the audience, “There is no clear signal of sea-level rise in Delaware.” [37]

March, 2009

David Legates was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. The conference is described as “a platform for scientists and policy analysts from around the world who question the theory that global warming is a crisis.” [39]

The conference's sponsors have received over $40 million from oil companies and right-wing foundations such as Koch Foundations and Scaife Foundations.  One of the main purposes of the conference was to cast doubt on the findings of the most recent Assessment Report by the Independent Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

October, 2009

David Legates signed an open letter to the EPA opposing the endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. According to the letter, submitted to EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson, “there is no known credible reason why further increasing CO2 levels will cause harm in the future.” [36]

May, 2008

Appeared in a video titled “Unstoppable Solar Cycles: The Real Story of Greenland” alongside prominent skeptic Willie Soon. The video, produced by the Idea Channel and funded by the Heartland Institute, contends that solar cycles are the sole driver behind climate change.  

The Heartland Institute distributed over 11,000 brochures and DVDs to Canadian Schools, with their goal being for students to receive a “'balanced' education about an 'important and controversial issue'.” [6]

Rie Oldenburg, curator of the Narsaq Museum in Southern Greenland, says she was told that she was contributing to a video on Norse history. But she was horrified to learn that the interview was used to contribute to a DVD that denies the human contribution to climate change.

March 30, 2008

David Legates spoke at an event sponsored by the Heartland Institute. His speech was titled “Is Our Climate Changing? Are We to Blame?”: [40]

February, 2007

Legates was reportedly ordered by the Governor of Delaware to stop using the title of “State Climatologist” when making statements about global warming. Legates used the “State Climatologist” tag when he co-wrote a friend-of-the-court legal brief opposing an attempt by Delaware and other states to force the federal regulation of greenhouse gases. The brief was filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [7]

In response to the use of the title “State Climatologist,” Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) wrote to Legates:

“Your views on climate change, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my administration. In light of my position and due to the confusion surrounding your role with the state, I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware, and not as state climatologist.”

February 24, 2016

David Legates's work is featured in Shattered Consensus, a book comprised of “nine expert essays on global warming,” describes the George C. Marshall Institute. Legates was one of the four authors who discussed their chapters at a Marshall Institute event. [27] In addition to Legates, authors included Ross McKitrick, Patrick Michaels, and Oliver W. Frauenfeld. Slides from Legate's presentation can be viewed here (PDF). [26]

July, 2006

Legates was a speaker at an event celebrating the release of a paper by the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA) titled “A Call to Truth, Prudence and the Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming.” Authors of the paper include prominent climate change skeptics including Calvin BeisnerPaul K. DriessenRoss McKitrick and Roy W. Spencer. [8]

“A Call to Truth” refutes, on a point-by-point basis, an open letter by another Evangelical organization titled “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action” which supports the existence of man-made climate change. [41], [42]

The ISA paper contends that “All of these assumptions [by 'An Evangelical Call to Action'] … are false, probably false, or exaggerated.”

According to their website, the ISA is “a coalition of religious leaders, clergy, theologians, scientists, academics, and other policy experts committed to bringing a proper and balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.” The group was renamed in 2007 as the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

Legates was a “review editor” at the journal “Climate Research” when the controversial Soon/Baliunas paper attacking Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick was published. He went on to co-author an update to the paper, publishing in discredited journal Energy and Environment with Soon, Baliunas, and both Craig and Sherwood Idso.

According to Legates' testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works committee in July 2003: [54]

I will say with respect to Climate Research, Otto Kinne, who is director of Inter-Research, the parent organization of Climate Research, asked Chris de Freitas who was the editor who served on the Soon and Baliunus papers, and I can relay this because I am a review editor of Climate Research so I am familiar with what has been taking place.”


David Legates appeared to be one of the recipients of an email Willie Soon sent to a group of friends in 2003, planning to criticize the IPCC’s AR4 report before it was written. [44]


*ExxonSecrets and other sources have listed Legates as an “Adjunct Scholar” with the CEI, but this information has been since removed from the CEI website. Legates is listed among CEI's “alumni, and CEI currently maintains a blank contributor page for a “David Legates.” [16], [45]


The NCPA also has a history with tobacco company Philip Morris. For example, in a 1998 Philip Morris document titled “third-party public policy activity,” the NCPA is listed as an anti-government regulations group that “will write op-eds.” [49]

The CEI receives some of the highest levels of corporate funding of any conservative think-tank, and ExxonSecrets reports them to be “at the center of the global warming misinformation campaign.”[45]


“New Perspectives on Climate Change” (PDF) indicts the IPCC, describing any research done by them as “misleading, inaccurate, unreliable, or simply wrong.”  The Independent Institute's report summary describes Legates as a “internationally recognized…authority on climate change.”

  • Washington Roundtable on Science & Public Policy: “Global Warming and the Hydrologic Cycle: How are the Occurrence of Floods, Droughts, and Storms Likely to Change?” (PDF) April 14, 2004. George C. Marshall Institute.


  1. “David R. Legates.” Profile at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/v0qzg

  2. “People | David R. Legates,” University of Delaware. Archived February 25, 2012. Achive.is URLhttps://archive.is/41H4R

  3. Prof named state climatologist,” U Daily, September 23, 2005. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/LElJF

  4. David R. Legates. “Climate Models and the National Assessment,” The Marshall Institute, November 10, 2000. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/QyVIM

  5. Washington Roundtable on Science and Public Policy Climate Forecasts, Global Warming and the National Assessment” (PDF). January 23, 2001. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  6. Canadian schools sent brochures, DVDs from climate change skeptics,” Canwest News Service, May 4, 2008. Archived October 8, 2015. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/wSQje

  7. Delaware climatologist asked to stop using title in official capacity,” Greenwire, February 22, 2007. Republished by the Heat is Online. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/rmObp

  8. Call to Truth, Prudence and the Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming,” The Heritage Foundation, July 25, 2006. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ar2di 

  9. Dr. David R. Legates,” George C. Marshall Institute. Archived October 9, 20012. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Vjgra

  10. Personnel,” Science & Public Policy Institute Website. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/IbR98

  11. Climatologist Exposes Cracks In Global Warming Foundation,” National Center for Policy Analysis, July 12, 2004. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JYs7a

  12. David R. Legates,” Profile at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/v0qzg

  13. Research Fellow: David R. Legates,” The Independent Institute. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/foNfB

  14. Heartland Experts: David Legates,” The Heartland Institute. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yaHr5

  15. NRSP People,” Natural Resources Stewardship Project. Archived February 13, 2007. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2dBsA

  16. Alumni,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived April 4, 2008. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/JvQjW

  17. An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change,” Cornwall Alliance, April 27, 2015. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/rcUsx [repeat s43]

  18. Judith Curry. “Pope Francis, climate change, and morality,” Climate Etc. April 29, 2015. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/gIRZN

  19. DDP 34th Annual Meeting – July 2016,” Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Archived July 22, 2016. Backup archive url: http://archive.is/oRn3j

  20. Speakers,” Heartland Institute. Archived June 30, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/lpiqu

  21. Panel 1: Climate Science with Willie Soon, Ph.D., David Legates, Ph.D., and Patrick Michaels, Ph.D.,” UStream video. Archived video on file at DeSmog.

  22. “Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model” (PDF), Sci. Bull. (2015) 60(1):122–135. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  23. Ben Jervey. “David Legates Asked To Step Down As Delaware State Climatologist,” DeSmog, July 14, 2011.

  24. Brendan DeMelle. “Koch Industries' Extensive Funding of Climate Denial Industry Unmasked,” DeSmog, March 29, 2010.

  25. Lisa Song. “A Guide To Willie Soon's Climate Research Funded by Fossil Fuel Companies,” InsideClimate News, February 23, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2fXjv

  26. “Precipitation and the Precipitation and the 'Enhanced' Hydrologic Cycle” (PDF), Marshall Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  27. Shattered Consensus: Four Authors Discuss Their New Book on Climate Science,” George C. Marshall Institute, February 24, 2006. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HcIlO

  28. David Legates, Courage in Defense of Science Award, ICCC10,” YouTube video uploaded by user The Heartland Institute, July 2, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  29. David R. Legates. “Climate science or climate advocacy?Watts Up With That? July 22, 2016. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/aiaMQ

  30. Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change,” Science & Education, April 2015, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 299–318. Retrieved from SpringerLink. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/oHqcJ

  31. Nicolas Loris. “Debunking Leonardo DiCaprio’s Climate Change Documentary,” The Daily Signal, November 10, 2016. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/6ee4B

  32. Background on Climate Hustle Host and Producers,” ClimateHustle.org. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  33. Homepage, climatehustler.org. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/NB9qn

  34. Graham Readfearn. “The Evangelical Christian Climate Deniers Behind Marc Morano’s Climate Hustle Documentary,” Desmog, November 19, 2015.

  35. Marc Morano. “'Climate Hustle' goes to DC: Skeptical film to premiere on Capitol Hill; Panel with Gov. Sarah Palin, Brent Bozell & Appearance by Warmist Bill Nye,” Climate Depot, March 31, 2016. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/n2q7P

  36. Many leading scientists tell the EPA to think again by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley,” Climate Realists, February 28, 2010. Archived November 25, 2016 Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Bc0Nc

  37. Jeff Montgomery. “Climate change skeptics say 'sick' science distorts facts,The News Journal, March 19, 2013. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/s0cvh

  38. Jeff Montgomery. “UD's David Legates caught in climate change controversy,” The News Journal, February 27, 2015. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/3WyLx

  39. David Legates, ICCC2,” International Conferences on Climate Change. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  40. Cornwall Alliance Newsletter (June 19, 2009). Archived July 31, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Mbx6E

  41. Climate Change an Evangelical Call To Action,” Christians and Climate an Evangelical Call To Action. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/8poLg

  42. “An Open Letter to the Signers of 'Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action' and Others Concerned About Global Warming” (PDF), Cornwall Alliance, April 15, 2009. Archivd .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  43. An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change,” Cornwall Alliance, April 27, 2015. Archived November 25, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/rcUsx [repeat s17]

  44. Willie Soon email to climate deniers IPCC 4th Assessment Attack,” Greenpeace USA. Archived October 23, 2014. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Nx0y5

  45. FACTSHEET: COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, CEI,” ExxonSecrets. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/P4xss

  46. Gayathri Vaidyanathan. “ADVOCACY:Think tank that cast doubt on climate change science morphs into smaller one,” ClimateWire, December 10, 2015. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/fTPko

  47. FACTSHEET: GEORGE C. MARSHALL INSTITUTE, GMI,” ExxonSecrets. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iFBDa

  48. FACTSHEET: NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS, NCPA,” ExxonSecrets. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XWRcV

  49. Re: Third-party Public Policy Activity,” Philip Morris Records, April, 1998.. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  50. FACTSHEET: INDEPENDENT INSTITUTE,” ExxonSecrets. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/IzTDM

  51. Dear Derek,” The Independent Institute, January 6, 1995. Retreived from the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  52. Independent Institute,” SourceWatch. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/xe6jM

  53. FACTSHEET: HEARTLAND INSTITUTE, HEARTLAND,” ExxonSecrets. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OYlvz


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