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Scientists Get Serious About Linking Specific Disasters to Climate Change


Can we blame the floods in Pakistan on climate change? Maybe.

It's long been recognized, even (especially?) by those of us concerned about climate change, that it's hard—if not downright disingenuous—to blame a particular crazy weather event on gradual, global atmospheric changes. But apparently some real scientists are developing a methodology to do just that.


The aim of the Attribution of Climate-Related Events workshop was to discuss what information is needed to determine the extent to which human-induced climate change can be blamed for extreme weather events - possibly even straight after they have happened.

Assigning blame in this way is not without precedent. In 2004, Allen and his colleagues showed to a high level of confidence that human greenhouse gas emissions had at least doubled the risk of the European heatwave of 2003 occurring....

Ultimately, though, putting numbers on the consequences of climate change will open the door to legal challenges. "There is a possibility that people who are adversely affected by climate change might seek compensation from those they feel are responsible," says Allen.

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Using this information to bring legal complaints against specific companies would be incomprehensibly messy. But there's (at least) one area where it could be very useful: The international community could use it to assign liability for a weather disaster in one country to whichever other countries have contributed most to climate change. That would help solve the problem of the lopsided costs of climate change, and address the collective action problem that stymied the Copenhagen meeting.

That said, many of the effects of climate change, such as desertification or sea level rise, are slow moving and hard to think of as discrete events in the first place.

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via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

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Communities
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

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Business
via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

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Health