Who is to blame for extreme weather events? – University of Copenhagen

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Who is to blame for extreme weather events?

Sustainability Science Centre is proud to present a sustainability seminar on 25 April 2019, with Fredi Otto, Emily Boyd and Kristian Cedervall Lauta.

Attribution and climate extremes: causality, controversy and collective.

Today, it is well established that climate change will inevitably lead to more extreme weather events across the globe. However, the specific chain of causality between emitter and victim, until now, remains uncertain. The emerging controversial science of extreme event attribution allows us to specifically assess how climate change is affecting specific hazards. With respective advances made in environmental social sciences and legal studies, we are at a threshold of establishing causal links between climate change and concrete extreme events.

In this panel, we will offer a state-of-the-art insight into attribution from a physical, social and legal perspective, and discuss what the potential implications of reaching a threshold in this arena might be. 

Friederike (Fredi) Otto is the Acting Director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford and an Associate Professor in the Institute’s Global Climate Science Programme where she leads several projects understanding the impacts of man-made climate change on natural and social systems with a particular focus on Africa and India. Her main research interest is on extreme weather events (droughts, heat waves, extreme precipitation), improving and developing methodologies to answer the question 'whether and to what extent external climate drivers alter the likelihood of extreme weather'. She furthermore investigates the policy implication of this emerging scientific field. Fredi is co-investigator on the international project World Weather Attribution which aims to provide an assessment of the human-influence on extreme weather in the immediate aftermath of the event occurring. Fredi is a physicist by training and obtained a PhD in philosophy of science from the Free University Berlin in 2012.

Emily Boyd is the Director of LUCSUS at Lund University , a professor in sustainability studies and a leading social scientist with a specialist focus on environment and climate change. Her unique focus has been on the interdisciplinary nexus of poverty, livelihoods and resilience in relation to global environmental change, focusing on issues pertaining to cities, sustainable land use, water and deforestation in Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia and Europe. Her work has been published across the social and sustainability sciences with notable publications on resilience, adaptation and the politics and practice of community participation in the new carbon economy. Her current research focus in on undesirable resilience, politics of loss and damage and intersectionality in societal transitions, including on transformations under climate change. 

Kristian Cedervall Lauta is Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and chairperson of the Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (COPE). He is author of DISASTER LAW, analysing how and why the field of disaster law has emerged. He is a leading expert within disaster law in general, the intersection of disasters and human rights in particular, and the main author of numerous international peer-reviewed articles on law and disaster risk. He is a senior editor of the European Journal of Risk Regulation and has edited special issues of the European Journal of Risk Regulation and the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction He is a member of the steering committee of the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Sustainability Science and a co-PI of several international research projects, hereunder the H2020-project ESPREssO. Kristian has been a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and Cambridge and is a member to the Royal Danish Academy for Sciences and Letters’ Young Academy.

Katherine Richardson, Professor and Leader of Sustainability Science Centre, will moderate this seminar.

Registration for this event is necessary, admission is free.