We are living in an era of terrible floods, fires, category 4 hurricanes, and other extreme weather disasters. In order to chart the consequences of these catastrophes, Oxford researcher Friedericka Otto has taken a hard look at the day-by-day story of Hurricane Harvey, which resulted in over a hundred deaths and $125 billion in damages in 2017.
While government and corporate leaders try to protect their positions and profits by refusing to blame extreme weather events on humans, Otto has set up an international project, World Weather Attribution, to explore human influence on extreme weather. The author points to the significance of this pioneering project and its relevance to justice.
"Science is not a universal remedy for panic and ignorance, and attribution science alone will not save the world. It is, however, an effective tool to provide guidance and show whether climate change has fundamentally changed the rules of specific weather events, played only a minor role, or been wrongfully blamed."
Many voices are speaking out about climate change — from those claiming it is "fake news" to others who see it as the beginning of the apocalypse. More helpful, Otto argues, is "well-founded numbers [that] help us identify those actually responsible and expose attempts to conceal or even deny uncomfortable facts." We welcome these efforts!