Peruvian farmer demands compensation from RWE

The Palcacocha lake. Photograph: GermanWatch

A Peruvian farmer is demanding that the German energy company, RWE, pay compensation for its role in causing historical climate change. RWE is one of the “Carbon Majors” identified by research commissioned by the Climate Justice Programme and published in the journal Climatic Change.

The plaintiff, Saul Luciano Lliuya, has demanded that RWE pay part of the costs for urgent protective measures as his home lies in the floodpath of the Palcacocha lake which is damming glacial melt-water upstream of his home in the town of Huaraz, in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, or white mountain range.

Lliuya is supported by GermanWatch and represented by environmental lawyer, Dr Roda Verheyen, who is an Expert Advisor to the Climate Justice Programme.

“We have a solid case with respect to RWE’s contribution to greenhouse gases and how that leads to the risk in which Mr Lliuya’s home finds itself,” Verheyen told the Guardian.

“My client approached me with one question: ‘Do you think it is correct that polluters never own up to their responsibility?’ As a lawyer and as a human being, I have to say, it is not fair. Can we do something about it?” she said.

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%, according to the Carbon Majors report.