Huaraz climate litigation against RWE, Peru

In an unprecedented legal battle for climate justice, a Peruvian farmer is suing German energy company RWE. Responsible for 0.5% of historic emissions, they should share financial responsibility for building defences against the melting Andean glaciers.


In an unprecedented legal battle for climate justice, Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya is suing the energy company RWE  on account of their contribution to climate change, which is causing Andean glaciers to melt and creating a serious risk of flooding or landslides. His family property, 50, 000 others and a large part of his home city of Huaraz  are at risk [1].

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Basic Data
NameHuaraz climate litigation against RWE, Peru
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific CommoditiesCoal
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsRWE are responsible for 0.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of industrialisation [7] [8]. The Carbon Majors Report by Richard Heede examines the cumulative contribution of major institutions to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from product combustion, flaring, vented CO2, own fuel use, and fugitive methane, and finds 0.47% of global industrial CO2 & CH4 emissions from 1751 to 2010 are attributed to RWE. This is the equivalent of 6.84 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions [7].

As Germanwatch report: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) links Andean glacial melting back to global climate change. In Huaraz, the danger is imminent: the glacial lake Palcacocha, which lies several kilometres above the city, has grown four times in size since 2003. Climate change has also increased the risk that large pieces of ice will break off the glaciers and fall into the lake. This could cause a massive wave, leading to a devastating flood in the densely settled areas below. The Peruvian disaster protection agency warns that there could be a flood at any moment; the Palcacocha glacial lake is the most dangerous in the region.” [9]
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Company Names or State EnterprisesRWE from Germany
Relevant government actorsGerman Courts
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGermanwatch:

Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit :
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Climate Litigation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Global warming
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (undecided)
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Although already a precedent for climate litigation, the outcome remains to be seen.
Sources and Materials

[7] Carbon Majors: Accounting for carbon and methane emissions 1854 - 2010; Methods & Results Report
[click to view]

[8] The Carbon Majors Database; CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017
[click to view]


[1] Germany: Higher District Court Hamm hears "Climate Suit" against RWE
[click to view]

[4] Historic breakthrough with global impact in "climate lawsuit"
[click to view]

[5] Climate Justice Needs Your Support. The case of Huaraz points to the major responsibility of large energy companies.
[click to view]

[9] Peruvian farmer sues German utility RWE over dangers related to glacial melting
[click to view]

[click to view]

[6] Saúl versus RWE - The Case of Huaraz
[click to view]

[2] German court to hear Peruvian farmer's climate case against RWE
[click to view]

Media Links

The Case of Huaraz - Saúl versus RWE
[click to view]

"This Peruvian Man is Suing an Energy Company Over Climate Change" (Video by VICE News Tonight on HBO)
[click to view]

YURAQ JANKA - A journey to Palcacocha

Transmedia project about the impacts of climate change in Peru
[click to view]

Other Documents

Saúl vs RWE The Huaraz Case directly links the emissions of energy producer RWE to the melting of glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.

Photo: Germanwatch
[click to view]

Saúl stands at the growing glacial lake which threatens his land The accelerated melting of the Churrup glacier creates a risk of flooding and landslides, which could puts the city of Huaraz at risk.

Photo: AFP
[click to view]

Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya with his lawyer Roda Verheyen Lluiya wants RWE to share the cost of flood defences, proportional to their contribution of 0.5% to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions since industrialisation.

Photo: Michelle Fitzpatrick /
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAlice Owen [email protected]
Last update12/12/2017