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Climate Blame Below The Glaciers - Challenges to Climate Justice in Peruvian Mountains and German Courts

Larsen, Line Skovlund LU (2018) HEKM51 20181
Human Ecology
Abstract
This thesis investigates climate blame amongst a local population in the Northern Andes, Peru,
and relates it to arguments on climate liability in German courtrooms. It does so on the backdrop
of a climate lawsuit, which in 2017 was accepted by the Higher Regional Court in Hamm,
Germany, filed by a Peruvian farmer against a German coal- and electricity company. Based on
epistemological standpoints of cultural relativism and critical realism, and through ethnographic
fieldwork in Huaraz, Peru and document analysis of the court case in Germany, it finds that
notions of climate justice in these distinct places are accompanied and challenged by a range of
other worldviews and principles. It describes in detail a range of perceptions of... (More)
This thesis investigates climate blame amongst a local population in the Northern Andes, Peru,
and relates it to arguments on climate liability in German courtrooms. It does so on the backdrop
of a climate lawsuit, which in 2017 was accepted by the Higher Regional Court in Hamm,
Germany, filed by a Peruvian farmer against a German coal- and electricity company. Based on
epistemological standpoints of cultural relativism and critical realism, and through ethnographic
fieldwork in Huaraz, Peru and document analysis of the court case in Germany, it finds that
notions of climate justice in these distinct places are accompanied and challenged by a range of
other worldviews and principles. It describes in detail a range of perceptions of climate change
causes within the local population, and finds that residence and livelihood strategies have an
influence on perceptions of climate change. The worldviews and principles are contextualized
and analysed through theories of climate justice, individual guilt, and collective responsibility
which reveal that the majority of the local population blame themselves or their own community
for climate change, which resembles arguments put forward by the coal mining company for
exempting their climate liability. With the development of my own concept “diffuse
responsibility”, I argue that the discourse of attributing blame for climate change to local
livelihood management strategies creates guilt in individuals and conceals major emitters’ climate
responsibility. However, notions of climate justice exist in both places as well, linked by the
climate lawsuit from the Global South against a major emitter in the Global North. The thesis
also offers a critique of the project of the lawsuit concerning community involvement, and a
discussion of the potentials of climate litigation as a tool for climate justice. (Less)
Abstract (Spanish)
En 2017, la corte de Hamm, Alemania, se aceptó la demanda judicial presentada por un agricultor
peruano contra una gran compañía alemana de carbón y electricidad RWE, acusando a la
empresa de ser responsable de las consecuencias del cambio climático en su localidad: El
derretimiento de glaciares y el riesgo de inundación desde un lago glacial. A raíz de esta acción,
esta tesis investiga las percepciones de “responsabilidad” y “culpa” entre la población en Huaraz
en los Andes en Perú y los comparan con los argumentos de responsabilidad climática emitidos
por la corte Alemana. A través de un trabajo de campo etnográfico en Huaraz, Perú, y del análisis
de documentos del caso judicial en Alemania, basado sobre puntos de vista... (More)
En 2017, la corte de Hamm, Alemania, se aceptó la demanda judicial presentada por un agricultor
peruano contra una gran compañía alemana de carbón y electricidad RWE, acusando a la
empresa de ser responsable de las consecuencias del cambio climático en su localidad: El
derretimiento de glaciares y el riesgo de inundación desde un lago glacial. A raíz de esta acción,
esta tesis investiga las percepciones de “responsabilidad” y “culpa” entre la población en Huaraz
en los Andes en Perú y los comparan con los argumentos de responsabilidad climática emitidos
por la corte Alemana. A través de un trabajo de campo etnográfico en Huaraz, Perú, y del análisis
de documentos del caso judicial en Alemania, basado sobre puntos de vista epistemológicos del
relativismo cultural y del realismo crítico, esta tesis señala que las nociones de justicia climática en
estas distintas localidades están acompañadas y desafiadas por una gran variedad de
cosmovisiones, principios y discursos. La tesis describe en detalle una gama de percepciones de la
población local sobre las causas del cambio climático, y encuentra las diferentes estrategias de los
medios de vida locales que influyen sobre las distintas percepciones que se tienen en cuanto al
cambio climático. Las cosmovisiones y principios encontrados durante la investigación son
contextualizadas y analizadas a través de teorías de justicia climática, de culpa individual, y de
responsabilidad colectiva, revelando que la mayor parte de la población local se culpa a sí misma
o a su propia comunidad por el cambio climático; lo cual a su vez se asemeja a los argumentos
presentados por la empresa demandada RWE para eximir su responsabilidad climática. Con el
desarrollo de mi propio concepto "responsabilidad difusa" pretendo mostrar que el discurso que
atribuye la culpa del cambio climático a las gestiones de medios de vida locales genera culpa en
los individuos de las poblaciones locales y oculta la responsabilidad climática de los emisores
mayores como las grandes empresas de electricidad y carbón. Sin embargo, las nociones de
justicia climática existen tanto en Huaraz como en el corte en Alemania, y en este caso se
vinculan por la demanda climática del Sur Global contra un emisor mayor del Norte Global.
Finalmente, esta tesis aporta una crítica sobre la demanda judicial en cuanto al involucramiento
de la comunidad local, y una discusión sobre la capacidad y el potencial del “litigio climático”
como una herramienta para la justicia climática. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Larsen, Line Skovlund LU
supervisor
organization
course
HEKM51 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Climate Blame, Climate Justice, Perceptions of Climate Change Causes, Climate Liability, Climate Litigation, Individual Guilt, Collective Responsibility, Diffuse Responsibility, Water Scarcity, Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, The Global South, The Andes, RWE, Huaraz, Peru
language
English
id
8963105
date added to LUP
2018-12-21 11:14:49
date last changed
2018-12-21 11:14:49
@misc{8963105,
  abstract     = {This thesis investigates climate blame amongst a local population in the Northern Andes, Peru,
and relates it to arguments on climate liability in German courtrooms. It does so on the backdrop
of a climate lawsuit, which in 2017 was accepted by the Higher Regional Court in Hamm,
Germany, filed by a Peruvian farmer against a German coal- and electricity company. Based on
epistemological standpoints of cultural relativism and critical realism, and through ethnographic
fieldwork in Huaraz, Peru and document analysis of the court case in Germany, it finds that
notions of climate justice in these distinct places are accompanied and challenged by a range of
other worldviews and principles. It describes in detail a range of perceptions of climate change
causes within the local population, and finds that residence and livelihood strategies have an
influence on perceptions of climate change. The worldviews and principles are contextualized
and analysed through theories of climate justice, individual guilt, and collective responsibility
which reveal that the majority of the local population blame themselves or their own community
for climate change, which resembles arguments put forward by the coal mining company for
exempting their climate liability. With the development of my own concept “diffuse
responsibility”, I argue that the discourse of attributing blame for climate change to local
livelihood management strategies creates guilt in individuals and conceals major emitters’ climate
responsibility. However, notions of climate justice exist in both places as well, linked by the
climate lawsuit from the Global South against a major emitter in the Global North. The thesis
also offers a critique of the project of the lawsuit concerning community involvement, and a
discussion of the potentials of climate litigation as a tool for climate justice.},
  author       = {Larsen, Line Skovlund},
  keyword      = {Climate Blame,Climate Justice,Perceptions of Climate Change Causes,Climate Liability,Climate Litigation,Individual Guilt,Collective Responsibility,Diffuse Responsibility,Water Scarcity,Glacial Lake Outburst Flood,The Global South,The Andes,RWE,Huaraz,Peru},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Climate Blame Below The Glaciers - Challenges to Climate Justice in Peruvian Mountains and German Courts},
  year         = {2018},
}