​​​​​​​Supreme court rejects appeal application over Mozambique gas project

Press release
Friends of the Earth urges government to reconsider UK funding
  Published:  23 Jun 2023    |      2 minute read

Friends of the Earth has expressed disappointment after the Supreme Court rejected the environmental campaign group’s application to appeal its case against a government decision to help fund a huge gas development project in Mozambique.

It comes after the Court of Appeal dismissed Friends of the Earth’s legal challenge in January this year.

Friends of the Earth had argued that the funding was incorrectly judged to be compatible with the Paris climate agreement and its goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

It has been estimated that the total emissions for the new gas field could total some 4.5bn tonnes of greenhouse gases over its lifetime - more than the combined annual emissions of all 27 EU countries – and these were not calculated as part of the government’s approval process or evaluated against global climate goals.

The gas project will not only exacerbate the climate crisis. The development of the Mozambique gas industry is believed to be a key factor fuelling instability that has led to violence, deaths and displacement of almost one million refugees. Friends of the Earth Africa and Friends of the Earth Mozambique are demanding an end to fossil fuel developments on the continent and instead a focus on renewables to deliver clean energy and prosperity.

Friends of the Earth is urging the UK government to review its funding of the project through UK Export Finance (UKEF). The Dutch and US governments have already pledged to review their financing of the controversial gas plant.

 Friends of the Earth’s international climate campaigner Rachel Kennerley said:  

“This is hugely disappointing. We strongly disagree with the court’s decision, but sadly we cannot appeal it.

“Although this is the end of our legal challenge, we again urge the UK government to reconsider its involvement in this controversial and hugely damaging project.

“The UK should be showing global leadership by helping nations like Mozambique to build clean energy alternatives, not more fossil fuel projects that pollute the planet and accelerate the climate crisis.

“This challenge and related campaigning have meant that governments will have to think twice before investing in fossil fuel projects that break their climate promises.

“We will continue to support Justica Ambiental! in Mozambique and Friends of the Earth Africa in their fight against destructive gas projects. They have a vision an Africa powered by renewables which we are proud to support.”

Anabela Lemos, Director of Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique, said:

"We are shocked and sad at this outcome. We never expected to lose such a clear case as this, and definitely not in the UK. But not allowing an appeal in a case that is a matter of life and death for so many people in the global south is unacceptable. We will not give up fighting to stop fossil fuels and for the survival of our people and the planet."


Notes to editors:

  1. Friends of the Earth was notified about the court’s decision last week.

  2. A Friends of the Earth briefing on UK funding of the Mozambique gas project is here. 

  3. Friends of the Earth vs UK Export Finance: case documents are here .

  4. Info on Friends of the Earth Africa is here  and on Friends of the Earth Mozambique is here .

  5. The Friends of the Earth legal team consists of: Jessica Simor KC, Prof. Zachary Douglas KC, Kate Cook, Anita Davies, Gayatri Sarathy, Leigh Day LLP and its own in-house legal specialists.