Court’s ruling on UK’s $1.15 bln funding for Mozambique LNG project stands
UK’s Supreme Court has rejected the application from the environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth to appeal its case against a government decision to help fund the Mozambique LNG development project led by French energy major TotalEnergies.
The ruling comes after the Court of Appeal dismissed Friends of the Earth’s legal challenge in January this year.
The group had argued that the funding was incorrectly judged to be compatible with the Paris climate agreement and its goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
According to Friends of the Earth findings, the total emissions for the new gas field could total some 4.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) over its lifetime, more than the combined annual emissions of all 27 EU countries, which the group claimed were not calculated as part of the government’s approval process or evaluated against global climate goals.
The group argued that the gas project will do more than exacerbate the climate crisis: “The development of the Mozambique gas industry is believed to be a key factor fuelling instability that has led to violence, deaths and displacement of almost one million refugees. Friends of the Earth Africa and Friends of the Earth Mozambique are demanding an end to fossil fuel developments on the continent and instead a focus on renewables to deliver clean energy and prosperity.”
The group noted that the Dutch and US governments had already pledged to review their financing of the plant and urged the UK government to do the same.
Friends of the Earth’s international climate campaigner Rachel Kennerley commented on the Supreme Court’s decision: “We strongly disagree with the court’s decision, but sadly we cannot appeal it. Although this is the end of our legal challenge, we again urge the UK government to reconsider its involvement in this controversial and hugely damaging project.”
“The UK should be showing global leadership by helping nations like Mozambique to build clean energy alternatives, not more fossil fuel projects that pollute the planet and accelerate the climate crisis.”
“We will continue to support Justica Ambiental! in Mozambique and Friends of the Earth Africa in their fight against destructive gas projects. They have a vision of an Africa powered by renewables which we are proud to support.”
Anabela Lemos, Director of Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique, said: “We never expected to lose such a clear case as this, and definitely not in the UK. But not allowing an appeal in a case that is a matter of life and death for so many people in the global south is unacceptable. We will not give up fighting to stop fossil fuels and for the survival of our people and the planet.”
To remind, at the beginning of this year, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, visited the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, where the Mozambique LNG project is located, to review the security and humanitarian situation.
During the visit, he appointed Jean-Christophe Rufin, an expert in humanitarian action and human rights, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the province.
- TotalEnergies appoints human rights expert to assess humanitarian situation for Mozambique LNG restart
- Report: Court finds UK’s $1.15 bln funding for Mozambique LNG project lawful
Mozambique LNG is the first onshore development project of an LNG plant in the country. It includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields located in Offshore Area 1 and the construction of two liquefaction trains with a total capacity of 13,1 mtpa. It is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion.
On 6 December 2022, Friends of the Earth asked the Court of Appeal in London to examine the UK government’s decision to fund the Mozambique LNG project through its export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF), after its judicial review ended up in a legal deadlock in December 2021, when two High Court judges disagreed on the verdict.
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