Thursday, April 7, 2016

Extreme weather events easier to be attributed to climate change

The U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicines have published a report on the attribution of extreme weather events to climate changes.

The scientists still hardly see any possibility to attribute extreme weather events to climate change in a deterministic way. However, they hold that ever more statements can be made regarding the likelihood of a certain extreme weather event being caused by climate change. Equally, ever more statements can be made as to the impact of climate change on the magnitude of weather events. See in particular the conclusions in Chapter 7 of the report. Thus the field of the unknowing is shrinking in respect to climate change attribution. Scientists' statements on likelihood get closer to what judges and other lawyers can digest. By their report, scientists also suggest the development of "community standards" for the attribution of extreme weather events. Such community standards would ever more bridge the gap between the scientific and the legal world. They could also be used to claim compensation for climate change damages from CO2 polluters.

The report has provoked a lot of reactions, see this article in “Physics today”.

An excellent summary of the report, including a first evaluation of implications for lawsuits, is to be found in the Climate Law Blog of the Columbia Law School.

See the Release Briefing for the Report:

Read the complete report here:

Also see: A previous blogpost on extreme weather events 

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