The United Kingdom Court of Appeal in London has ruled that British government funding of up to US$1.15 billion for liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in Mozambique is lawful. The court thus threw out an appeal by the environmental organisation, Friends of the Earth (FOE), which was attempting to halt British funding for Mozambican LNG.
According to a report from the Reuters news agency, FOE had asked the court to rule that the British government had wrongly decided that funding the LNG project would be compatible with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The project in question is led by the French oil and gas company, TotalEnergies, and involves building two LNG plants on the Afungi peninsula in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
Currently, the project is on hold because of islamist terrorism in Cabo Delgado. However, Total Energies has vowed to resume the project when the security situation allows.
Investment in the project is put at over US$20 billion, and UK Export Finance (UKEF) has committed to providing direct loans and guarantees to banks to support the design, building and operation of the project.
FOE's legal action failed in a lower court and was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in a written ruling on 13 January. Judge Geoffrey Vos said the Paris Agreement was only one of a range of factors UKEF took into account when reaching the decision to fund the project.
Vos added that UKEF's view that funding the project was aligned with the UK's obligations under the Paris Agreement was "tenable" and that there was no requirement for it to be "certain that the decision complied with those obligations".