The UK government will face questions in court over the legality of its support for Mozambique LNG, following a win for Friends of the Earth (FoE).
The High Court ruled that a judicial review should go ahead on UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) support. The NGO said it expected a full hearing to take place later this year.
FoE lost its first, written, application for a review but succeeded in its oral application this week.
“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 FoE head of legal Will Rundle.
“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.”
FoE said construction would see Mozambique’s emissions increase by 10% by 2022. Use of the LNG exported would lead to around 116 million tonnes per year of CO2 equivalent.
These emissions have not been taken into account, it said.
The FoE cases rests on two parts.
Firstly, approval of the UKEF support was inconsistent with the UK and Mozambique’s commitments to the Paris Agreement, it said.
Second, the UK failed to consider “essential issues” or carry out a necessary analysis on alignment with Paris commitments.
The FoE challenge to UKEF’s support for Mozambique LNG comes as the US is taking steps away from LNG plans. Japan’s Nikkei has reported that the US had called on Japan to halt funding for new LNG-to-power plans in Asia.
US President Joe Biden has launched a climate summit on April 22-23. The US has invited UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga among others.
The US declaration noted the importance of “mobilising public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts”.