Peruvian Farmer Holding Company Accountable for Climate Damage

Peruvian authorities have repeatedly declared the town of Huaraz under a state of emergency due to melting Andean glaciers and a swelling glacial lake that threatens to inundate the town.  In a pioneering battle, local farmer Saul Luciano Lliyua has filed suit against German energy giant RWE to protect his home from catastrophic floods.

RWE is Europe’s biggest single emitter of CO2.

Reporter Kristen French writes in yesterday’s The Verge that this legal challenge is well timed to coincide with the Paris climate talks.  French spoke with ELAW Executive Director Bern Johnson:

“In cases like this, you’re building a foundation for holding people accountable….  My view is that the damage we’re doing to the climate may be the gravest injustice in decades at least, and maybe ever.  Legal systems exist for the purpose of remedying injustice, so courts should be able to find a way to remedy this injustice.”

In 2014, ELAW published a report showing that courts and legal systems in many countries are well situated to hold corporations accountable and address climate impacts.

“I am thrilled that a case seeking financial remedies for climate damage has been filed in Europe,” says Jennifer Gleason, ELAW Staff Attorney.  “I expect to see more cases filed like this around the world.”

For more information about ELAW’s work to protect the climate, see:

Time to secure climate justice

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide

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