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Craig Loehle

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Craig Loehle
🏡 ResidenceNaperville, Illinois
🏳️ Nationality
🎓 Alma materUniversity of Georgia, University of Washington, Colorado State University
💼 Occupation

Craig Loehle is an American ecologist. He is a principal scientist at the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, a forest industry-funded research institution. He is also a policy expert for The Heartland Institute, a think tank famous for sponsoring climate change denial.[1][2][3][4]

Scientific career[edit]

Loehle worked as a research ecologist at Savannah River Laboratory from 1987 to 1991, and in the environmental research division at Argonne National Laboratory from 1991 to 1998.[5] While at Argonne, he conducted research which found that trees can grow to maturity up to a thousand miles south of their natural ranges, but only fifty to a hundred miles north of their natural ranges.[6]

Scientific discovery and success[edit]

In 1990, in a paper in the journal BioScience, Loehle coined the term "Medawar zone" to refer to a scientific task which is only moderately difficult but still yields the maximum payoff. He named it after Peter Medawar, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who once wrote that there seems to be a certain time when scientific questions seem especially ripe for answering, whereas other questions remain elusive and out-of-reach from investigation.[7][8]

Climate change research[edit]

Loehle produced a paleoclimate reconstruction of temperatures over the last 2,000 years which avoided tree ring records on the basis that these were flawed, and used 18 series from a variety of other climate proxies. It was published on 1 December 2007 in Energy & Environment,[9] a journal with a reputation for publishing papers promoting climate change denial. It became part of the hockey stick controversy as, unlike all other reconstructions, it showed Medieval Warm Period (MWP) temperatures warmer than current levels.[10] Climatologists promptly highlighted various problems which should have been identified in peer review, including the mistaken assumption that the climate proxies were in years before 2000 when the scientific convention is that Before Present is years before 1950.[10][11] The paper had shown the "MWP being approximately 0.3°C warmer than 20th century values at these eighteen sites",[9] on 1 January 2008 Loehle published a correction jointly with J. Huston McCulloch (Ohio State University Economics Department) which concluded that there was "little change in the results", and the "warmest tridecade of the MWP was warmer than the most recent tridecade, but not significantly so."[12] The corrected reconstruction as featured in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report was assessed as showing it likely that the warmest tridecade in the MWP was colder than the 1983–2012 mean instrumental temperature.[13]

A 2014 study by him concluded that climate sensitivity was 1.99 °C, with a 95% confidence limit of 1.75-2.23 °C.[14][15]


  1. Gillis, Justin (May 1, 2012). "Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters". New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2018. ...the Heartland Institute, the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism...
  2. Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Routledge. 2010. p. 256. ISBN 1135998507. The Heartland Institute, a leading think-tank promoting climate change denial... Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. Michael Mann (2013). The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Columbia University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0231152558. Many organizations have settled in the Potemkin village of climate change denial. Among them are the American Enterprise Institute...Heartland Institute Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. James Hoggan, Richard Littlemore (2009). Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. Greystone Books Ltd. p. 79. ISBN 1553654854. Similarly, the Heartland Institute, a small regional think tank in the 1990s, emerged as a leading force in climate change denial in the past decade Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. "Who We Are - Craig Loehle". Heartland Institute. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  6. Singer, Siegfried Fred; Avery, Dennis T. (2007). Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 81. ISBN 9780742551176. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. Loehle, Craig (February 1990). "A Guide to Increased Creativity in Research: Inspiration or Perspiration?". BioScience. 40 (2): 123–129. doi:10.2307/1311345.
  8. Eley, Adrian (2012). Becoming a successful early career researcher. New York, NY: Routledge. p. 16. ISBN 1-136-28529-6. OCLC 801405674. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  9. 9.0 9.1 Loehle, Craig (2007). "A 2000-Year Global Temperature Reconstruction Based on Non-Treering Proxies". Energy & Environment. SAGE Publications. 18 (7): 1049–1058. doi:10.1260/095830507782616797. ISSN 0958-305X. pdf
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mann, Michael E. (1 October 2013). The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Columbia University Press. pp. 187–188. ISBN 978-0-231-15255-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  11. Schmidt, Gavin (7 December 2007). "Past reconstructions: problems, pitfalls and progress". RealClimate. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  12. Loehle, Craig; McCulloch, J. Huston (2008). "Correction to: A 2000-Year Global Temperature Reconstruction Based on Non-Tree Ring Proxies". Energy & Environment. SAGE Publications. 19 (1): 93–100. doi:10.1260/095830508783563109. ISSN 0958-305X. pdf
  13. "IPCC Fifth Assessment Report". Climate Change 2013, WG1 Chapter 5: Information from Paleoclimate Archives. 30 January 2014. pp. 409–410, 446. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  14. Loehle, Craig (March 2014). "A minimal model for estimating climate sensitivity". Ecological Modelling. 276: 80–84. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.01.006.
  15. Michaels, Patrick (28 February 2014). "More Evidence for a Low Climate Sensitivity". Cato Institute. Retrieved 14 November 2014.

External links[edit]

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