The Law and Science of Climate Change Attribution

Lead PI: Dr. Radley M. Horton , Michael Burger , , Jessica Wentz

Unit Affiliation: Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

Unit Affiliation: Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

December 2019 - November 2022
North America ; United States
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of lawsuits seeking to hold governments and private actors accountable for failure to take action on climate change. Climate change attribution science—which examines the causal links between human activities, global climate change, and the impacts of climate change—plays a central role in many of these lawsuits. Attribution science is rapidly evolving, both in regards to attributing impacts and extreme events to climate change and in attributing greenhouse gas emissions to particular actors—and so too is its role in the courtroom and in policymaking. Armed with a growing body of evidence linking increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to specific harmful impacts, plaintiffs are pursuing more ambitious claims against governments and emitters for their contribution to, or failure to take action on, climate change.

The Law and Science of Climate Change Attribution examines how attribution science is used in litigation and in policymaking, and how litigation and policymaking might influence current and future directions in attribution science.

OUTCOMES: Climate Attribution Database:


High Tide Foundation


climate law climate policy climate change climate legislation


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