Christopher Rhodes de Freitas (1948 – 5 July 2017) was a New Zealand climate scientist. He was an associate professor in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland.
De Freitas, born in Trinidad, received both his Bachelor’s and his Master’s at the University of Toronto, Canada, after which he earned his PhD as a Commonwealth Scholar from the University of Queensland, Australia. During his time at the University of Auckland, he served as deputy dean of science, head of science and technology, and for four years as pro vice-chancellor. He also served as vice-president of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand and was a founding member of the Australia-New Zealand Climate Forum as well as serving on the executive board of the International Society of Biometeorology from 1999 to 2001. He wrote extensively in popular media on an array of environmental and climate-related issues. In 2001, he won the New Zealand Association of Scientists’ science communicator award, now known as the Cranwell Medal. He died of cancer in July 2017, having retired shortly beforehand.
De Freitas has questioned anthropogenic global warming, and the way information is received and interpreted. He has written that carbon dioxide emissions themselves may not necessarily be the source of recent increases in global temperature. In the New Zealand Herald (9 May 2006), he wrote:
As an editor for the journal Climate Research he had responsibility for sending papers out for review. In four instances, questions were raised about the review process of papers he had handled. The last of these led to the Soon and Baliunas controversy, in which a flawed paper was published under his editorial responsibility. The publisher, Otto Kinne, subsequently conceded that the conclusions of the paper were not supported by the evidence, and appropriate revisions of the manuscript should have been requested prior to publication.
University of Auckland website: