The British government’s investment in developing liquified natural gas (LNG) projects in Mozambique – projects contributing to the conflict and instability in the country’s north – is headed for judicial review following a successful legal filing from the Friends of the Earth.
The London-based NGO says the decision to approve funding for LNG was illegal, and wants it reexamined because investment in fossil fuels is inconsistent with both the global climate goals established under the Paris Agreement and the UK’s own climate commitments. The investment amounts to about US$1 billion through the UK Export Finance (UKEF), the British export credit agency.
“We’re delighted the High Court has given us permission to challenge the UK government’s reckless decision to provide huge financial support to a climate-wrecking gas project in Mozambique,” said Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, in a statement released Thursday.
“How can Boris Johnson expect the rest of the world to pull the plug on fossil fuels when his government is giving such enthusiastic support to a development that could have the same climate impact as the entire EU aviation sector? The UK government should be supporting the building of a cleaner, safer future – not projects that will continue to fuel the climate emergency for many years to come.”
The NGO estimates that the construction phase for LNG facilities will increase Mozambique’s emissions by up to 10 percent, with much larger emissions to come from end use of the gas. It also notes that communities in the coastal northeast already are losing land and livelihoods to development while contending with armed group violence.
“The development of the gas industry is believed to be a main factor fueling an insurgency that has led to violence, deaths and further displacement,” said Friends of the Earth in its climate litigation briefing.
A full hearing is expected to take place later this year.
Image: Anadarko Cabo Delgado file