Growing number of lawsuits seek to use the courts to bring action on climate change. The objectives of
these lawsuits include compelling governments and corporates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
preventing the financing and construction of high-emitting infrastructure, and ensuring businesses and
banks disclose their exposure to financial risks associated with climate change. A subset of these cases
makes claims relating to climate change impacts. In most of these cases, plaintiffs (1) seek
compensatory damages for losses incurred as a result of defendants’ greenhouse gas emissions
(‘damage liability cases’), or (2) ask courts to compel defendants, primarily governments or corporations,
to reduce emissions. These cases therefore hinge on courts finding that a causal relationship exists
between the defendants’ emissions and the plaintiffs’ losses (typically to determine standing in the latter
The last decade has seen a rapid growth in climate litigation in an increasing range of jurisdictions,
including significant developments in successful pro-regulatory litigation in Global South jurisdictions.
Parallel to this growth in litigation, recent scientific advances (termed ‘attribution science’) now allow
causal relationships to be established between greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related events.
It is logical, therefore, that attribution science should serve as the key source of evidence upon which
causal claims are made in relevant climate lawsuits. Previous legal scholarship has outlined the potential
role of attribution science in litigation.