ECIU Report: 41 extreme event studies in 2 years show climate change link

A new report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) presents the findings of their analysis of all research papers published since the Paris summit two years ago on the attribution of specific events to climate change. Of 59 papers, the report says, 41 conclude that climate change has increased the risks of a given type of extreme weather event.

The events analysed in these studies include extreme heat, drought, flooding and wildfire outbreaks, and concern every continent except Antarctica, spanning 32 individual events for which the risks have increased due to climate change, with other studies focusing on the long-term trend for increasing risks.

Some detect an increase in frequency, others an increase in intensity or duration, and/or link a particular impact to climate change. Only four papers concluded that climate change has decreased the risk of particular extreme events. The proportional increase in risk generated by climate change across the various events ranges from single-digit percentages to 330-fold.

Commenting on this report, Dr Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute and lead scientist for World Weather Attribution and Transition Into The Anthropocene (TITAN), said, “We’re now finding that for many kinds of extreme weather event, especially heatwaves and extreme rainfall, we can be quite confident about the effect of climate change,” she said.

“Whether policymakers are looking at local issues such as flood protection or involved in the global climate change negotiations, the more information they have about climate change impacts now and in the future, the better decisions they’re able to make. This ECIU report shows just how quickly knowledge is accumulating, and I think it’s only going to accelerate.”

Read the full ECIU report, Heavy Weather.

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