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Stakeholder perceptions of event attribution in the loss and damage debate

Parker, H. R., Boyd, E., Cornforth, R. ORCID:, James, R., Frederike, O. and Myles, A. (2017) Stakeholder perceptions of event attribution in the loss and damage debate. Climate Policy, 17 (4). pp. 533-550. ISSN 1469-3062

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2015.1124750


In 2013 the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for loss and damage (L&D) associated with climate change impacts was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For scientists, L&D raises ques- tions around the extent that such impacts can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change, which may generate complex results and be controversial in the policy arena. This is particularly true in the case of probabilistic event attribution (PEA) science, a new and rapidly evolving field that assesses whether changes in the probabilities of extreme events are attributable to GHG emissions. If the potential applications of PEA are to be considered responsibly, dialogue between scientists and policy makers is fundamental. Two key questions are considered here through a literature review and key stakeholder interviews with representatives from the science and policy sectors underpinning L&D. These provided the opportunity for in-depth insights into stakeholders’ views on firstly, how much is known and understood about PEA by those associated with the L&D debate? Secondly, how might PEA inform L&D and wider climate policy? Results show debate within the climate science community, and limited understanding among other stakeholders, around the sense in which extreme events can be attributed to climate change. However, stake- holders do identify and discuss potential uses for PEA in the WIM and wider policy, but it remains difficult to explore precise applications given the ambiguity surrounding L&D. This implies a need for stakeholders to develop greater understandings of alternative conceptions of L&D and the role of science, and also identify how PEA can best be used to support policy, and address associated challenges.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:51650
Uncontrolled Keywords:adaptation; climate policy; event attribution; loss and damage; probabilities; UNFCCC
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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