GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 182-5
Presentation Time: 2:35 PM


WILSON, Augusta, 475 Riverside Dr Ste 244, New York, NY 10115-0013

As the devastating impacts of climate change become ever-more apparent, litigation is becoming an important tool for pushing lawmakers to adopt mitigation and adaptation strategies and for assigning liability for climate-related damages. As a result, there’s increasing need for scientists with specialized knowledge and communication skills to help judges and juries understand the science underlying climate change and its impacts. This is particularly true as climate attribution science--scientists’ ability to understand how, and by how much, the likelihood of specific harms experienced by individuals or communities was increased by fossil fuel emissions--grows more and more robust.

While this can present an exciting opportunity for researchers to use their voices and expertise to effect change through the legal process, the prospect of doing so can also be intimidating. And there’s a great deal for scientists to know as the need for their participation in climate litigation expands.

This talk, given by an attorney from the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, will help scientists understand the relevant nuances of the legal system. We will cover trends related to the use of science in this growing climate litigation arena, and how court’s understanding of, or failure to understand, current climate science has affected the decisions and outcomes in specific cases. We will then discuss what this means for scientists who wish to participate in climate cases, what scientists should expect when acting as an expert witness, and advice for working with attorneys.