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Sir John Theodore Houghton FRS CBE is a Welsh scientist who was the co-chair of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) scientific assessment working group. He was the lead editor of first three IPCC reports. He was professor in atmospheric physics at the University of Oxfordmarker, former Chief Executive at the Met Office and founder of the Hadley Centre.

He is the chairman of the John Ray Initiative, an organisation "connecting Environment, Science and Christianity", where he has compared the stewardship of the Earth, to the stewardship of the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve. He is a founder member of the International Society for Science and Religion. He is also the current president of the Victoria Institute.


Born in Dyserthmarker he moved to Rhylmarker at the age of two and attended Rhyl Grammar School where he discovered his interest in science which he pursued by attending Jesus College, Oxfordmarker. He was brought up as a Calvinistic Methodist in the Presbyterian Church of Wales and has remained a strong Christian throughout his life and sees science and Christianity as strengthening each other and believes strongly in the connection between Christianity and environmentalism. Houghton's evangelical Christianity combined with his scientific background has made him a significant voice in evangelical Christian circles. Winning the support of Richard Cizik one of the most prominent Evangelical lobbyists in the United States is a notable example of how Houghton has had a significant effect. He is currently an elder at Aberdovey Presbyterian Church.

Houghton is currently Honorary Scientist of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research at the Meteorological Office; Honorary Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; a Trustee of the Shell Foundation; and Chairman of the John Ray Initiative.

Previously Sir John was
  • a Member of the UK Government Panel on Sustainable Development (1994-2000)
  • Chairman, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1992-98)
  • Chairman or Co-Chairman, Scientific Assessment Working Group, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1988-2002)
  • Director General (later Chief Executive), UK Meteorological Office (1983-91)
  • Director Appleton, Science and Engineering Research Council (also Deputy Director, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)(1979-83);
  • Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Oxford University (1976-83).

During the 1970’s he was also Principal Investigator for Space Experiments on NASA Spacecraft.

He moved back to Wales and currently lives in Aberdyfimarker. In 2007 he denounced the controversial documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle for its inaccuracies.

Awards and honors

In December 2007 he received the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delegation, alongside the former vice-president of America, Al Gore.

He has received Honorary Doctorates of Science from the Universities of Wales (1991), Stirling (1992),East Anglia (1993), Leeds (1995), Heriot-Watt (1996), Greenwich (1997), Glamorgan (1998), Reading (1999), Birmingham (2000), Gloucestershire (2001) and Hull (2002), and is an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxfordmarker and of University of Wales, Lampetermarker.


His publications include
  • Does God Play Dice? 1988, Intervarsity Press
  • Global Warming, the Complete Briefing, 1994, Lion Publishing (2nd edition 1997, Cambridge University Press; 3rd edition 2004, Cambridge University Press
  • The search for God; can science help? 1995, Lion Publishing

  • Physics of Atmospheres, 1977. 2nd edition 1986, 3rd edition 2002, Cambridge University Press.
  • Climate Change, the IPCC Scientific Assessment, eds J.T. Houghton, G.J. Jenkins and J.J. Ephraums, 1990, Cambridge University Press
  • Climate Change 1992, the Supplementary Report to the IPCC Scientific Assessment, eds J.T. Houghton, B.A. Callander and S.K. Varney, 1992, Cambridge University Press
  • Climate Change 1994, Radiative Forcing of Climate Change and an Evaluaion of the IPCC IS92 Emission Scenarios, eds J.T.Houghton, L.G.Meira Filho, J.Bruce, Hoesung Lee, B.A.Callander, E.Haites, N.Harris and K.Maskell, 1994, Cambridge University Press
  • Climate Change 1995, the Science of Climate Change, eds J.T.Houghton, L.G.Meira Filho, B.A.Callander, N.Harris, A Kattenberg and K.Maskell, 1995, Cambridge University Press
  • Climate Change 2001, The Scientific Basis, eds J.T.Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J.Griggs, M.Noguer, P.J.van der Linden, X.Dai, K.Maskell, C.A.Johnson, 2001 Cambridge University Press


In 2003 he wrote:

As co-chair of the IPCC, he defends the IPCC process, in particular against charges of failure to consider non-CO2 explanations of climate change. In evidence to, the Select Committee on Science and Technology in 2000 he said:

He has accused countries such as Saudi Arabia, fed information by American coal and oil lobbyists, of attempting to subvert the IPCC process:

In further evidence, he agreed with the statement that most of the scientific objection to the consensus is actually from vested interests within the oil/coal lobby, rather than from scientists.When asked his view of green groups such as Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, as to whether they have they been generally responsible, or have they exaggerated the argument for their own purposes, he replied that

John Houghton also applies a Christian perspective to his views, to emphasise the need for long term thinking. In 25 May 2001, in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College, Cambridge, he said:

In 1997, an article in Science quotes him as saying


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