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Mozambique LNG judicial review: “hard to see how the UK can retain anything left of its credibility”

news release

At a judicial review brought to the High Court by the environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth this week, the government has been challenged over the financing of a massive liquified natural gas (LNG) development in Mozambique that it pledged $1.15bn towards through its export credit agency UK Export Finance in July 2020.

Today, on the last day of the three-day hearing, the court heard the government finish setting out its case in defence of the project. Reacting for Friends of the Earth, Will Rundle, head of legal, said:

“Today in court, the government’s made it unmistakably clear that it thinks the Paris Agreement does not prevent the UK from financing fossil fuel projects that’ll drive up the emissions of countries like Mozambique, so long as they’ve set their own national emissions targets. The fact that the world is not on course to meet the 1.5 degrees goal, which the Prime Minister himself said we must keep alive, seems not to matter. As his government has argued, it’s merely a global issue and not a concern for the UK in consideration of this project or others like it.

“This undermines the whole point of the Paris Agreement: to limit climate-wrecking emissions and support poorer nations with the finances to transition to renewable energy.

“We have also learned that members of his own cabinet, responsible for the Foreign Office, Department for International Development, and the Business Secretary, as well as the COP26 president, all opposed funding for the Mozambique LNG project. In light of this, it is bewildering that the government decided to plough on and provide around £850 million of taxpayer support.

“It’s hard to see how the UK can retain anything left of its credibility knowing all this. If it has any intention of doing so, then it should pull funding for the Mozambique LNG project today.”

ENDS

For more information and interview requests contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 or email media@foe.co.uk.  

Notes to editors 

  1. The Friends of the Earth legal team consists of: Jessica Simor QC, Kate Cook, Anita Davies (all of Matrix Chambers), Leigh Day LLP and its own in-house legal specialists. 
  2. Friends of the Earth’s briefing on the Mozambique LNG project can be viewed here
  3. A blog outlining the impacts of the Mozambique LNG project on communities in Mozambique, written by Anabela Lemos, Director of Justiça Ambiental (Friends of the Earth Mozambique), can be viewed here
  4. Last month a new report by Friends of the Earth and the New Economics Foundation revealed that fossil fuel companies are planning to seek approval for 40 damaging new coal, oil and gas extraction projects in the UK by 2025. The full report can be viewed here
  5. About Friends of the Earth: Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/ follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page.

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