The German court has taken an unprecedented step by agreeing, Thursday, November 30, to consider the request of a Peruvian farmer against the German energy conglomerate, Rwe (Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk Aktiengesellschaft), to determine its responsibility in the cast iron,an Andean glacier attributed to global warming.

The battle in which Saul Luciano Lliuya launched himself is "a legal matter with fundamental significance," according to the court of appeal of Hamm, in the north of the country, by ordering a series of assessments on the effect of RWE's gas emissions.

In this "David against Goliath" fight, RWE won its first instance in 2016. The court decided that direct responsibility could not be proved.

Writing a page in the history of law

By bringing the procedure into the next phase, the German magistrates are nevertheless taking a step in the next direction of "global climate justice" -- a political concept that would force the polluting North to compensate the affected southern countries.

“The 5th civil chamber made legal history today. Its statement is clear,” said Roda Verheyen, the applicant's lawyer, quoted by the NGO Germanwatch, who supports the whole process.

A series of assessments must determine the possible causal link between the pollutant emissions of RWE and the melting of huge blocks of ice in the Andes: transformed into lagoons, they threaten to engulf Huaraz, a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants -- the central part of the Peruvian Andes, where Mr.

Lliuya lives. The Peruvian farmer will have to pay the 20,000 euros necessary to hire experts, specified the magistrates.

Symbolic scapegoat

A father of two, he is asking for funding from RWE for some of the flood protection works in the community of Huaraz, the capital of the Ancash region of northern Peru. He also wants the reimbursement of 6,300 euros of work done to protect his house against rising water.

According to expert reports presented at the COP23 -- held in Bonn, Germany, from the 6th to the 17th of November, emissions from industry and fossil fuel combustion are expected to increase by around 2% (between 0.8% and 2.9%) this year, compared to 2016, and are expected to reach a record level. This increased pollution is keeping the promise of the signatory states of the Paris agreement to keep global warming below 2 °C. It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward.