Peruvian farmer demands compensation from RWE for climate change impacts; includes company response


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6 April 2015

Claim blaming utility for devastating glacier melt in Peru may set landmark legal precedent

Author: Lisa Friedman, E & E Publishing, LLC (USA)

A Peruvian farmer who has watched glaciers melt "literally under his feet" is demanding that a German energy company compensate him for its role in causing climate change and putting his mountain village at risk of obliteration...Saul Luciano Lliuya's claim against utility company RWE AG...could just as easily have been lodged against Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. or any other major carbon polluter in the world...But after speaking with activists from advocacy group Germanwatch, Lliuya opted to focus on Europe's largest emitter of greenhouse gases...Roda Verheyen, an environmental lawyer representing Lliuya [said] "He has nothing to gain for this personally except for the protection of his community."...Legal experts say that no matter the monetary compensation levels being asked, the case could be a landmark in the making. While it is not the first global warming litigation of its kind, observers said it goes further than others in linking a specific climate risk to a specific climate polluter...Verheyen said she hopes the suit will spur new action toward an agreement on loss and damage, and predicted that would happen if the court ultimately ruled in Lliuya's favor...

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Company response
23 March 2015

RWE response

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited RWE to respond.  The response is available in German here.

This is an unofficial translation of the response by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:

"We received the letter from the attorney representing Mr. Saul Luciano of Huaraz (Peru).  As with all legal issues, we have begun to evaluate the claims set forth in the letter.  We will release a statement addressing the contents at a later date."

16 March 2015

Peruvian farmer demands climate compensation from German company

Author: Dan Collyns, Guardian (UK)

A Peruvian farmer is demanding that a German energy company pay him compensation for its role in causing historical climate change which, he claims, leaves his home [in Huarez, Peru] “acutely threatened” by a glacial lake which could burst its banks…The claim alleges that RWE…contributed to the greenhouse effect and, in turn, glacial retreat in the Andes…Lliuya is demanding that RWE pay him for its contribution to global total emissions from 1751 to 2010, which is calculated to be 0.47%...To avert the risk of flooding, the…lake would need to be drained until further safety works could be put in place…In order to undertake these measures, Lliuya asks the company to contribute around €20,000 (£14,250 )…

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