Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


The case of Lliuya v. RWE AG first starts with Saúl Luciano Lliuya, of Huaraz Peru. Lliuya, a small-scale farmer and mountain guide in the flood path of Lake Palcacocha in the Peruvian Andes, decided to file a lawsuit against German energy giant Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk Aktiengesellschaft (RWE AG; Reeves et al. 2019). Due to rising temperatures from global warming, the glacial melt is increasing the lake’s size and threatening the people of Huaraz city. Lliuya decided to take action, and with the help of environmental advocacy groups such as Stiftung Zunkunftsfähigkeit (Foundation for Sustainability), he was able to get the lawsuit into the German court system. Ultimately, he began a massive climate action movement in pushing for legal systems to hold independent companies responsible for their emissions and how they affect the people of the world (Germanwatch 2021). Lliuya credits his motivation for advocating and acting on climate change to the visibility he has of the environment getting worse and worse in his home, saying, “Every day, I see the glaciers melting and the lakes in the mountains growing. For us in the valley, the threat is immense. We cannot simply wait and see what happens. For me, RWE AG is partly responsible for the risks that threaten us in Huaraz.” (Baldrich 2021).