This week (7 Dec-9 Dec 2021), Friends of the Earth (FoE) are taking the UK government to the High Court for financing the controversial Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project in Mozambique.
The decision to approve approximately £850 million of financing for the Mozambique LNG project is to be examined at a Judicial Review. The case will examine the government’s decision to grant funding through its export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), as approved by the Treasury. FoE are challenging the decision on the grounds that the project was wrongly deemed compatible with the Paris Agreement and was reached without the proper assessment of the project’s climate impacts against the international treaty’s terms.
A recent Friends of the Earth report found that this project could emit up to 4.5bn tonnes of climate-wrecking greenhouse gases over its lifetime. It is estimated that the construction phase of this project alone would increase Mozambique’s emissions by up to 10% by 2022.
Disappointingly, the total emissions for the new gas field were not calculated as part of the government’s approval process, nor were they evaluated against ambitions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees as set out in the Paris Agreement. This, alongside a clear contradiction of the UK’s obligation to help other countries meet their own climate targets, is why Friends of the Earth deems the decision to be unlawful. These and other errors in the decision will be set out in court.
Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries. Due to its susceptibility to multiple climate hazards including tropical cyclones, floods and severe droughts, it is also considered one of the most climate vulnerable. An August 2021 report by UNICEF ranked Mozambique tenth in the world for countries where children are most at risk from the impacts of climate change.
Not only has the discovery of natural gas in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique in the last decade exacerbated climate breakdown, but it has also fuelled human rights abuses and conflict and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Will you help by signing the petition to the Prime Minster and/or writing to your MP.