Climate Enforcers Need Hard Evidence. Friederike Otto Has It
But attribution science can do a lot more than tell us how climate change influences the weather. Otto wants to use her attribution reports to hold polluters to account for extreme weather events. “We have started to do a lot of work with lawyers, to basically bridge this knowledge gap between what we can say scientifically and what has so far been used in terms of evidence,” she says. With legal cases underway in Germany and Brazil, attribution science is moving into the courtroom.
OTTO COFOUNDED World Weather Attribution in 2014 with the oceanographer Heidi Cullen and climatologist Geert Jan van Oldenborgh. At first, Otto—who has degrees in physics and philosophy—thought that the main role of weather attribution was to untangle the complexity of weather systems to quantify how much climate change was influencing extreme weather. Other scientists had established how to use climate models to attribute weather events to