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5 Oct 2018

Ciara Nugent, Time

Climate Change Could Destroy This Peruvian Farmer's Home. Now He's Suing a European Energy Company for Damages

Saúl Luciano Lliuya...filed a lawsuit against energy company RWE...Lliuya claims that...RWE...should pay for 0.5% of the cost of flood defenses for Huaraz...The suit was initially dismissed in Essen.  But in November, a higher court in Germany ruled he was on sound legal ground and agreed to hear the case...

...Lliuya’s lawsuit...is based on a nuisance law in the German civil code normally used in disputes between neighbors...The court ruled it could apply to RWE’s carbon emissions potentially damaging Lliuya’s home...

...[M]any doubt there is enough evidence to link a particular instance of climate change to a specific company like RWE...Roda Verheyen, the lawyer leading Lliuya’s case, says that is not their intention...Verheyen argues that carbon dioxide emitted by RWE has contributed to raising the probability of extraordinary events like glacier melt or breakages threatening Lliuya’s home...[T]he court appointed two experts...Over the coming months they’ll assess the risk to Lliuya’s home, the role of climate change and to what degree RWE is responsible.  The outcome largely rests on their conclusion, Verheyen says.  Guido Steffen, a spokesperson for RWE, says Lliuya’s claims have no legal basis...If Lliuya wins his case, it might set a significant legal precedent in Europe. But even the lower court ruling was a valuable win, Verheyen says...