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RWE lawsuit: First test case in Europe to clarify responsibilities of carbon majors for climate change

Marion Cadier speaks with Dr. Roda Verheyen (legal counsel in Lliuya v. RWE AG), Roxana Baldrich (Policy Advisor at Germanwatch) and Christoph Bals (Policy Director at Germanwatch) about the lawsuit brought by Saul Luciano Lliuya against RWE in relation to its contribution to climate change (the Huaraz case).

In November 2015, Saúl Luciano Lliuya, a Peruvian farmer living in Huaraz in Peru, filed a lawsuit in Germany against RWE, Germany’s largest electricity producer.  Mr Lliuya claims that his house in the village of Huaraz is at imminent risk of being damaged or destroyed due to an outburst flood from a glacial lake, caused by the melting of glaciers linked to climate change.  Lliuya argues that RWE has contributed nearly 0,5 percent of global manmade emissions since industrial revolution.  And he asked the court to order RWE to reimburse him for the same portion of the costs of establishing flood protection.  A first instance court dismissed the claim in December 2016.  However, the appeal court determined that the demand for damages was admissible, allowing the case to proceed.

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