Attribution science in the courts: establishing the liability of greenhouse gas emitters for climate change damages


Twitter: @RupertS_Smith

Academic Profile

Rupert Stuart-Smith is a founding member of the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme's management team and a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford where his research focuses on climate change litigation and attribution science. His main research interests include the use and interpretation of scientific evidence in climate litigation and methodological developments in climate change attribution science. His current work also spans climate and glacier modelling, the impacts of climate change on health and strategy development for climate litigation.

Rupert's recent publications include research on the impact of climate change on glacial retreat in Peru in the context of an ongoing lawsuit (Lliuya v RWE) and the evidence needed to bring successful legal claims on the impacts of climate change. His research has been published in leading scientific journals including Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change.

Rupert has worked as a consultant for the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE), supporting the development of FILE's legal strategy on climate change, and for WWF-UK, Climate Analytics and Vivid Economics. Rupert holds a BA(Hons) in Geography from the University of Oxford, for which he received the Alfred Steers Prize from the Royal Geographical Society, awarded to the author of best Undergraduate dissertation in a UK geography department.

Rupert's work has been featured in the global media, including by The Guardian, BBC, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Reuters, and Carbon Brief.


  • Natural Environment Research Council (2019-2023)
  • Climate Analytics (2019-2023)
  • FILE Foundation (2020)
  • Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition (2019)

Current Teaching


Journal Articles


  • Stuart-Smith, R.F. (2020) Climate change in the Arctic: impacts and attribution. Scoping study for WWF-UK.
  • Dietz, S., Jahn, V., Noels, J., Stuart-Smith, R.F. and Hepburn, C.J. (2019) A survey of the net zero positions of the world's largest energy companies. Available from Transition Pathway Initiative.

Conference Papers

  • Stuart-Smith, R.F., Roe, G.H., Li, S. and Allen, M.R. (2019) Human influence on the retreat of Palcaraju glacier (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.