The environmentalist organisation Friends of the Earth revealed yesterday, 21 February, that it has appealed to the UK’s court of last instance to assess a request to challenge British funding for a natural gas extraction project in Mozambique’s Rovuma basin.
In January, the Court of Appeal had already rejected the request, but the organisation wants the arguments to be heard again by the Supreme Court.
The activists consider that “the decision to fund the project was illegal” and that there are implications “on public decision-making around the UK’s climate obligations”.
“The funding decision was made without taking into account the staggering emissions that will result from the combustion of the gas, and without considering how these emissions align with globally agreed climate targets,” they said in a statement.
Before moving to a trial, the High Court will first assess the application to decide whether it has merit and whether an issue of major constitutional importance is at stake.
The UK export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF) has allocated $1150 million in 2020 to develop the offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Rovuma basin in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.
But Friends of the Earth claims that the environmental impact has not been properly assessed, which runs counter to the UK’s commitment to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to limit global warming.
The organisation estimates that up to 4500 million tonnes of greenhouse gases will result from the project over its years of activity.
The project in question, promoted by a consortium led by the French oil company TotalEnergies in the Rovuma basin, was suspended in 2021 after attacks by armed groups in Cabo Delgado province.
Valued at between 20 billion and 25 billion euros, the gas extraction megaproject is one of the largest private investments planned for Africa, and is supported by several international financial institutions.