Bob Carter

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Bob Carter, climate denier, on the payroll of polluter front groups

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

Bob Carter (Robert M. Carter), born 1942 (age 81–82), is a retired Australian marine geologist and a paid AGW denier. He is also an adjunct (unpaid[1]) Research Fellow at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University" in Australia,[2] and on the academic advisory council of the denialist front group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation.[3] Carter is on the payroll of the Heartland Institute, which itself is funded by polluting industries (Exxon, Scaife Foundations and Koch Family Foundations, etc).[4]

According to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, Carter was "on the research committee at the Institute of Public Affairs, a think tank that has received funding from oil and tobacco companies, and whose directors sit on the boards of companies in the fossil fuel sector" and believed, SMH said, that "the role of peer review in scientific literature was overstressed."[5]

Denialist affiliations

Carter is Chief Science Advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition[2], funded in part by the Heartland Institute[6], which is funded by the industries involved in producing greenhouse gases. Carter is also an advisor on a number of other right wing and denialist "think-tanks" and groups the Institute for Public Affairs (Aus), The Galileo Movement (Aus), the Science and Public Policy Institute (US), the International Climate Science Coalition (US/Canada), the Australian Climate Science Coalition, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (UK) and Repeal the Act (UK).[7] He was a founding advisor to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. Carter is a founding member of the Australian Environment Foundation, a front group set up by the Institute of Public Affairs.

Carter's own website (see image below) claimed, as recently as 2012, that he received no funding from "special interest organisations", but this was shown to be untrue with the release of private Heartland Institute documents in February 2012, which showed Carter was funded by this one front group alone to the tune of approximately $20,000 annually. Carter brushed off the revelation with the statement that being truthful about one's funding is "a very quaint and old fashioned practice".[7]


Speaking at Heartland Institute events

Carter was a speaker at the International Conference on Climate Change (2009), organized by the Heartland Institute[8] Carter is also listed as a speaker for the Heartland Institute's June 2009 Third International Conference on Climate Change.[9] In all, Carter has been a speaker at six of Heartland's climate change conferences.[7]


Carter's climate reasoning is selective and raises questions:

"Carter goes to some length to claim that the surface temperature record (according to institutions like NASA GISS) is unreliable. In fact he implies that it’s downright useless. Yet he also states that the satellite record is reliable...[But] if the satellite record is so reliable but the surface record is so useless, why do they agree so closely?"[10]

In March 2007, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Carter asserted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had uncovered no evidence the warming of the planet was caused by human activity. He said the role of peer review in scientific literature was overstressed, and whether or not a scientist had been funded by the fossil fuel industry was irrelevant to the validity of research. 'I don't think it is the point whether or not you are paid by the coal or petroleum industry,' said Professor Carter. 'I will address the evidence.'" [11] Carter has also asserted that "atmospheric CO2 is not a primary forcing agent for temperature change," and claimed that "any cumulative human signal is so far undetectable at a global level and, if present, is buried deeply in the noise of natural variation". [12]

Other Select Climate Quotes

  • "The basic physics is this. The more carbon dioxide you emit, the less the incremental warming for the extra carbon dioxide." [13]
  • Since then (1998) it's been very gently cooling. No evidence at all that any of these canges have anything to do with human activity or influence. These are natural climatic changes. [14]


Carter is a geologist who writes in the field of geology.[15].

Ocean Drilling Program; ended in 2002

Some of Carter's work has involved what is known as "paleoclimatic research," including participation in the Ocean Drilling Program Leg 181 try to create a benchmark of the 4 million year-long, mid-latitude climate record.[16]. Funding for this program reportedly "came to its planned and natural end"[17] around 2002.

Outreach to journalists, denying global warming

Journalist Robyn Williams wrote that with the end of the drilling program "...many of us began to receive helpful items from Carter, clearly meant for publication, most knocking the orthodoxy, the bleak line on global warming. The first, a scripted talk, I duly put to air. Then a similar piece turned up in The Australian newspaper; then he was on Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, twice, all with the same position. This was becoming not so much the availability of a helpful boffin, more pressing a line.... I...discovered that Professor Bob Carter, geologist from Townsville, was a vocal member of the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA)."[18]


In 2005, Carter was appointed by the Australian Minister for Environment, Ian Campbell, as a judge for the Australian Government Peter Hunt Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism.[19] He is also an advisor to the Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act ( )[20]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Readfearn, Graham (2012 [last update]). Australia's place in the global web of climate denial - The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 19 February 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Academic Advisory Council. Retrieved on 2011-12-16.
  4. Cubby, Ben (2012 [last update]). Scientist denies he is mouthpiece of US climate-sceptic think tank. Retrieved on February 15, 2012.
  6. Heartland's 2007(?) IRS Form 990, and indications of likely continued funding in later years (name of org is omitted, but region is same)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Readfearn, Graham (2012 [last update]). Dollars, documents and denial: a tangled web (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 19 February 2012. “Carter has also been a speaker at six of Heartland's climate change conferences.”
  8. "Speakers," Heartland Institute website, accessed January 2009.
  9. Heartland Institute, "Speakers", Heartland Institute, accessed May 7, 2009.
  10. Tamino (2011-07-13). Bob Carter Does his Business. Open Mind. Retrieved on 2011-08-08. “Carter goes to some length to claim that the surface temperature record (according to institutions like NASA GISS) is unreliable. In fact he implies that it’s downright useless. Yet he also states that the satellite record is reliable (and he uses the version from UAH). Which makes me wonder — if the satellite record is so reliable but the surface record is so useless, why do they agree so closely?”
  13. "6 minutes [1]"
  14. "1 minute 10 [2]"
  15. research papers
  17. Email from Bob Carter to ahaynes, 2011-10-16
  18. Robyn Williams (2006-05-24). Fair Weather Friends?. Retrieved on 2011-08-08. “We talked about Bob’s part in the deep-ocean drilling scheme carried out by ship, in various parts of the world. The cores produced are analysed chemically and offer time capsules going back centuries and histories of past climate change. He thought the project to be valuable. I agreed, for what that’s worth, and the interview duly went to air. Australia then withdrew from the project and Bob’s involvement went on hold.”
  20. "[3]"

External resources

External articles

Climate change sceptic Bob Carter continues to ply his trade

Articles and Presentations by Carter

Interviews with Carter

  • Michael Duffy, "Climate Change Response: Bob Carter, Research Professor of Geology, James Cook University, Townsville, answers your queries arising from our Climate Change show of Monday 4 April.", Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, April 11, 2005.
  • Robyn Williams, "Bob Carter", Science Show, ABC Radio National, September 1, 2005.
  • Panel Discussion chaired by Professor Anders Flodstrom, "Global Warming - Scientific Controversies in Climate Variability:" (click on Part 1 or Part 2), KTH University, Stockholm, September 11-12, 2006.

Other articles