PRECEDENT-SETTING CLIMATE JUSTICE LAWSUIT CONTINUES – ON-SITE VISIT IS IN PLANNING – CORONA PANDEMIC LEADS TO DELAY
Together with Germanwatch, the Foundation for Sustainability has been supporting the Peruvian Andean farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya since 2015 in a civil climate lawsuit against the energy company RWE. Due to glacial retreat caused by climate change, a glacial lake above the Andean city of Huaraz has grown considerably. In the event of an outburst flood, Saúl Luciano Lliuya’s house as well as a large part of the city of Huaraz located below the glacial lake are threatened with a catastrophe that would affect up to 50,000 people. As Europe’s largest CO2 emitter, RWE is responsible for about half a percent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions worldwide since the beginning of industrialization. Saúl Luciano Lliuya is demanding that the Group pay for around 0.5% of the protective measures required at the glacial lake.
On November 13, 2017, the 5th Civil Senate of the Hamm Higher Regional Court made legal history: Judges found that large emitters such as RWE have a potential obligation to support those affected by climate change impacts in poor countries. This marked the beginning of the evidentiary stage in the claim brought by Saúl Luciano Lliuya against RWE – a great success for this highly regarded test case.
In September 2018, the Hamm Higher Regional Court appointed independent experts to examine the evidence. As a first step, experts will look whether the threat of flooding to the plaintiff’s property can be proven to the legal standard of evidence. If this is established, the next evidentiary question is to what extent climate change and the CO2 emissions released by the defendant’s power plants have contributed to the danger of flooding at Lake Palcacocha.
As part of the first step, the court decided to visit the site in question in Huaraz/Peru. This visit has been delayed as Peru and Germany do not have a legal assistance agreement and due to the pandemic.
The dramatic nature of the situation came to the fore on February 5th, 2019 when a large avalanche crashed into the lake and caused waves of 4.5 m. Though an existing 7 m high dam prevented an outburst flood, this demonstrated the ongoing disaster risk to the city of Huaraz as a larger avalanche is possible at any time.
You can support this precedent-setting lawsuit through donations and thereby help Saúl Luciano Lliuya and his family! Our foundation has committed itself to cover all the plaintiff’s costs including expenses for the court, lawyers, and scientific experts.
GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG
IBAN: DE 77 4306 0967 0014 0396 00