Scientist Warns Oil Biz to Prepare for Global Warming Lawsuits
In a forthcoming paper, an Oxford physicist argues that class action lawsuits against oil companies for damages brought on by severe weather events caused by global warming may soon be possible.
[social_buttons]Oxford Professor Myles Allen believes that people adversely affected by climate change today are now in a position to document and quantify their losses. And that the results of his upcoming paper show a way to compute those damages and correlate them to global warming.
“We are starting to get to the point that when an adverse weather event occurs we can quantify how much more likely it was made by human activity,” said Allen in The Guardian.
Allen’s technique involves comparing two computer models simulating the conditions that lead to extreme weather events. The first model includes human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, and the second—a control model—assumes the industrial revolution never happened and that carbon levels in the atmosphere have not increased over the last century (a huge assumption, if you ask me). Comparing the results hones in on the impact of man-made global warming. “As the science has evolved this is now possible, it’s just a question of computing power,” he said.
However, even if the model is able to control for human causes of climate change, I’m not so sure that establishing causation would be terribly easy for the plaintiff in any such suit. At least not at this stage in the game.