Does Attribution Science Give Climate Litigators a Smoking Gun?

Does Attribution Science Give Climate Litigators a Smoking Gun?

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June 25, 2019

Climate attribution science allows connections to be made between extreme weather events and a warming climate. The science is also being used to trace climate change to the activities of specific industries and companies, potentially generating evidence to fuel climate litigation.

A new scientific discipline, climate attribution science, is making connections between climate change and recent extreme weather events in the U.S. and around the globe. The science is emerging as a result of advances in computer power used to model weather and the climate, and as scientists have focused their efforts to understand the causes of increasingly frequent heat waves, droughts and flooding.

Guests Peter Frumhoff, chief climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University explore attribution science and the extent to which the cause and effect relationship between climate change and weather can in fact be understood. They also look at how attribution science can be used to trace the contribution to climate change of major greenhouse gas emitters, potentially creating new legal liability for industries and countries.

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