Friends of the Earth (FoE) is asking for an oral hearing at the High Court in its bid to reverse the UK’s support for the Mozambique LNG project.
The High Court rejected the NGO’s application last week for a judicial review.
If a judge approves the complaint at an oral hearing, a full trial will be held later in the year.
FoE has described the government’s conduct as illegal, given the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The NGO wants the High Court to examine UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) decision to support the plan.
UKEF agreed to provide up to $300mn through direct loans, with another $850mn in guarantees for commercial banks.
Hypocritical and unlawful
FoE’s head of legal Will Rundle said there was a strong case for judicial review of the UK’s support for Mozambique LNG.
“It’s astounding that a UK government due to host a crucial climate summit later this year is providing so much taxpayer financial support for a climate-wrecking gas project in Mozambique.
“Funding this gas mega-project is not only hypocritical of ministers who have pledged to show global leadership on the climate crisis, we believe it is unlawful too.
“We should be using UK finance and influence to help nations fight the climate emergency, not fuel it. The UK is one of the largest historical contributors to the climate crisis already,” Rundle said.
Building the LNG plant in Mozambique will increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10% by 2020, FoE said. Once the plant is up and running, consumption of the gas it exports will see a further 116 million tonnes per year of CO2e emitted.
Leigh Day is representing FoE. Solicitor Rowan Smith said the NGO was “simply demanding that the UK government follow its own policy. That policy states funding for these sorts of projects should be refused if it does not align with international obligations.”
The NGO has also raised concerns around violence in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province. Amnesty International has said the insurgents, the Mozambique government and military contractors had all engaged in war crimes.
US military advisors have begun training Mozambique’s armed forces, the New York Times reported on March 15. The US has officially designated the leader of the local insurgency, Abu Yasir Hassan, as a terrorist earlier this month.