Climatic Change

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 439–451 | Cite as

Ethical and normative implications of weather event attribution for policy discussions concerning loss and damage

  • Allen ThompsonEmail author
  • Friederike E. L. Otto


Extreme weather events, at least in the short term, will arguably cause more damage and thus adversely affect society more than long term changes in the mean climate that are attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. While it was long perceived as impossible to directly link a singular event with external climate drivers the emerging science of probabilistic event attribution renders it possible to attribute the fraction of risk caused by anthropogenic climate change to particular weather events and their associated losses. The robust link of only a small fraction of excessive deaths in, e.g., a heatwave to manmade climate change is very significant from an ethical point of view and we argue that this has widespread implications, e.g. for pending policy decisions concerning the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and the recognition of such losses in the broader context of climate justice.


Heat Wave Extreme Event Climate Policy Social Vulnerability Restorative Justice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of History, Philosophy and ReligionOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Change Institute (ECI)University of OxfordOxfordUK

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