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The role of impact science in climate litigation
In November 2015, a Peruvian farmer and mountain guide, Saúl Luciano Lliuya, launched a pioneering bid for climate justice in a German court. Lliuya claimed that a retreating glacier above his home city of Huaraz had led to the expansion of Lake Palcacocha in the wake of its recession, and that this had happened due to climate change. Today, Lake Palcacocha threatens to burst onto Huaraz with catastrophic consequences. In this case, Lliuya has sought compensation from a German energy company, RWE, for part of the costs of reducing the flood risk, on the basis of RWE’s greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore contribution to climate change.

While the German courts have deliberated over Lliuya’s case, growing numbers of climate-related lawsuits have been filed worldwide aiming to secure compensation for the impacts of climate change or to compel governments to strengthen climate targets. Many of these cases make causal claims about the effect of defendants’ greenhouse gas emissions on plaintiffs, for which the right scientific evidence may be crucial.

In this event, we will bring together pioneering lawyers to explore the different legal strategies being deployed to protect human rights from the impacts of climate change, and the role science can play. The panel will also discuss the key arguments used in Lliuya v RWE, and the scientific evidence used to support them. The event is organised by the COST Action PROCLIAS.

Panel members:
Dr Roda Verheyen: Partner, Rechtsanwälte Günther and lawyer for the plaintiff in Lliuya v RWE.
Sophie Marjanac: Lead, Climate Accountability, ClientEarth.
Dr Noah Walker-Crawford: Research Fellow, University College London, and External Advisor for climate litigation, Germanwatch.
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