Plants Need CO2

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Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Plants Need CO2 was a climate complacency front group 501(c)(3) that (with ad-buying sibling 501(c)(4) CO2 Is Green) popped up in 2009, with a mission "to educate the public on the positive effects of additional atmospheric CO2..."[1]. One of its directors, Corbin Robertson of Quintana Minerals, "is said to own more coal through his various ventures than anyone outside of the U.S. government"[2] - and was a Koch strategy group attendee.

Website content

Message: more CO2 good

According to the Plants Need CO2 website, "Earth and it's inhabitants need more, not less, CO2..."[1].

Science: more CO2 not good

Skeptical Science provides the evidence that "Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives".[3]

Visible personnel: Leighton Steward

The group's only named principal is its spokesman, H. Leighton Steward, described as "a geologist, environmentalist, author, and retired energy industry executive" who's interested in "helping to educate the general public and the politicians about the tremendous benefits of carbon dioxide (CO2) as it relates to the plant and animal kingdoms and their related ecosystems and habitats, and the general health of humanity".[4]

Domain registration

The domain was originally registered on May 26, 2009; as of its August 25 2009 update it showed H. Leighton Steward as the registrant, using a email address and the Network Solutions business address.

Earlier, registration information reportedly tied it to Quintana Minerals Corporation, which "provides oil and gas exploration services to the energy sector" and "offers crude oil and natural gas production services."[5]

Directors and backgrounds

The Plants Need CO2 website does not name the group's directors, only spokesman H. Leighton Steward.

According to its corporate Certificate of Formation[6], the group has three directors: Steward, Wyatt Hogan and Corbin Robertson Jr.

Contact details

Phone: none provided
Email address: info AT

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 No byline (Undated). First Page. Plants Need CO2. Retrieved on 2011-03-27. “Earth and it's inhabitants need more, not less, CO2.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mary Ann Azevedo (2007-09-09). Energy fund drills in new 'direction'. Houston Business Journal. Retrieved on 2011-03-27. “Hugh Roy Cullen, who was dubbed "arguably Houston's most famous oilman" by Texas Monthly in 2005, founded the now-defunct Quintana Petroleum in 1930. Today, Corby Robertson -- Cullen's grandson -- is said to own more coal through his various ventures than anyone outside of the U.S. government (see "Cullen heir nabs huge lumps of coal," Dec. 8, 2006). Besides his role with Quintana Energy Partners, Robertson also serves as president of Quintana Minerals Corp., CEO and chairman of publicly traded Natural Resource Partners LP, and chairman of Quintana Maritime Ltd., a Nasdaq-traded bulk shipping company.”
  3. gpwayne (2010-08-17). Positives and negatives of global warming. Skeptical Science. Retrieved on 2011-04-04.
  4. Plants Need CO2 (2009). About Plants Need CO2 - CO2 is Green & Green is Good. Retrieved on 2009-09-18.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Miles Grant, "Big Oil creates phony climate denial site, lies about it", Grist, September 4, 2009.
  6. Filing #801134935, filed June 15 2009 with the Texas Secretary of State
  7. Forbes (2009). Wyatt L. Hogan Profile. Forbes. Retrieved on 2009-09-18.

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