Poor use of science jeopardises climate litigation

Poor use of science jeopardises climate litigation

29 June 2021

A new study published in Nature Climate Change shows that evidence provided in lawsuits lags far behind state-of-the-art climate science, impeding claims that greenhouse-gas emissions have caused the impacts suffered by the plaintiffs.


Lead author Rupert Stuart-Smith said, 'In recent weeks, successful lawsuits in the Netherlands, Germany, and elsewhere have seen courts demand countries and companies dramatically strengthen their climate targets. The power of climate litigation is increasingly clear.'


The study authors call for greater awareness and use of climate attribution science when bringing litigation. Not only will this provide better evidence and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome, but attribution science can inform the decision to pursue climate litigation cases with uncertainties around some types of events, such as droughts being much higher than others.

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