EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From hot air to environmental injustice: end to end event attribution

Michael Wehner1, Kevin Smiley2, and Christopher Sampson3
Michael Wehner et al.
  • 1Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, United States of America (
  • 2Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, United States of America (
  • 3Fathom Global, Bristol, United Kingdom (

The human influence on many classes of extreme weather events has been made very clear by extreme weather event attribution studies. However, this is only the first step to quantify the human influence on the actual impacts from these events. Using Hurricane Harvey as a storyline example, we illustrate the causal chain from increased temperatures to increased precipitation to increased flooding to increased structural damages. Detailed geographical information about the effect of climate change on the flood leads to an attribution statement about damages and is combined with census data revealing profound disparities across socioeconomic groups. We leave the listener with rhetorical questions: Can one quantify environmental injustice? If so, can an end to end attribution statement about climate change induced loss and damages provide a defensible claim for reparations?

How to cite: Wehner, M., Smiley, K., and Sampson, C.: From hot air to environmental injustice: end to end event attribution, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3679,, 2023.