Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2185616
 
 

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Adaptation and the Courtroom: Judging Climate Science


Kirsten H. Engel


University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Jonathan T. Overpeck


University of Arizona - Department of Geosciences

January 11, 2014

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, 2013, Forthcoming
Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 12-38

Abstract:     
Climate science is increasingly showing up in courtroom disputes over the duty to adapt to climate change. While judges play a critical role in evaluating scientific evidence, they are not apt to be familiar with the basic methods of climate science nor with the role played by peer review, publication and training of climate scientists. This Article is an attempt to educate the bench and the bar on the basics of the discipline of climate science, which we contend is a distinct scientific discipline. We propose a series of principles to guide a judge’s evaluation of the reliability and weight to be accorded a given climate scientists’ claim or opinion. The principles are designed to aid a judge in evaluating whether the expert’s testimony complies with the Daubert test for the admissibility of scientific evidence but are broadly applicable to a judge’s evaluation of agency science-based decisions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: climate change, scientific evidence, admissibility, adaptation, Daubert

JEL Classification: K32, K4, K41

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Date posted: December 6, 2012 ; Last revised: January 16, 2014

Suggested Citation

Engel, Kirsten H. and Overpeck, Jonathan T., Adaptation and the Courtroom: Judging Climate Science (January 11, 2014). Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, 2013, Forthcoming; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 12-38. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2185616

Contact Information

Kirsten H. Engel (Contact Author)
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-621-5444 (Phone)

Jonathan T. Overpeck
University of Arizona - Department of Geosciences ( email )
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
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