The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/windows/end-of-ie-support).

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

David Harnesk (photo Emilio José Bernard)

David Harnesk

Postdoctoral Fellow

David Harnesk (photo Emilio José Bernard)

Ethics of Probabilistic Extreme Event Attribution in Climate Change Science : A Critique

Author

  • Lennart Olsson
  • Henrik Thorén
  • David Harnesk
  • Johannes Persson

Summary, in English

The question whether a single extreme climate event, such as a hurricane or heatwave, can be attributed to human induced climate change has become a vibrant field of research and discussion in recent years. Proponents of the most common approach (probabilistic event attribution) argue for using single event attribution for advancing climate policy, not least in the context of loss and damages, while critics are raising concerns about inductive risks which may result in misguided policies. Here, we present six ethical predicaments, rooted in epistemic choices of single event attribution for policy making, with a focus on problems related to loss and damage. Our results show that probabilistic event attribution is particularly sensitive to these predicaments, rendering the choice of method value laden and hence political. Our review shows how the putatively apolitical approach becomes political and deeply problematic from a climate justice perspective. We also suggest that extreme event attribution (EEA) is becoming more and more irrelevant for projecting loss and damages as socio-ecological systems are increasingly destabilized by climate change. We conclude by suggesting a more causality driven approach for understanding loss and damage, that is, less prone to the ethical predicaments of EEA.

Department/s

  • Theoretical Philosophy
  • Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology
  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Publishing year

2022-02-22

Language

English

Publication/Series

Earth's Future

Volume

10

Issue

3

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Topic

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Philosophy

Keywords

  • Loss and damage policy
  • Extreme event attribution
  • attribution science
  • climate change
  • comparative risk assessment
  • extreme events
  • Loss and damage
  • non-epistemic values

Status

Published

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 2328-4277