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Who pays for climate change? The Peruvian suing a German utility

By Camilla Hodgson

05 Jun 2022 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

A farmer in the Andes is suing Germany’s largest utility for contributing to the climate change crisis that is endangering his community. This on-the-ground FT report dives into the remarkable story.

farmer’s case against energy company RWE could shatter precedent on climate-related litigationFor several days at the end of May, an unusual collection of scientists, lawyers and judges from Europe could be found in the Peruvian Andes almost 5,000 metres above sea level, watching as a drone flew up to a huge, but shrinking, glacier.

The setting was spectacular: the bright blue Lake Palcacocha sparkled in the sun in front of a huge wall of rock and ice hundreds of metres tall, the facade of a glacier that extends backwards over the snowy peaks. The beauty of the scene belied its instability; if an avalanche were to crash into the lake, experts warn floodwater could rush down into the city of Huaraz below.

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