Legal

Mozambique gas project could lift “millions out of poverty” – government lawyer

The UK government has defended its decision to invest $1.15bn in a massive gas scheme in Mozambique.

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth who handed in a petition signed by 45,000 people urging the prime minister to withdraw funding from the Mozambique gas project. Photo: Friends of the Earth

Responding to a legal challenge at the High Court, the government’s lawyer said:

“Revenue from this project is the only means of lifting millions out of poverty”.

The money for a liquified natural gas plant and offshore pipeline was approved by the Treasury and the government’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), in July 2020.

Six months later, the government announced it would stop public investments in overseas fossil fuel projects.

Friends of the Earth is seeking a judicial review of the Mozambique finance.

It argued yesterday that ministers approved the project believing it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and was compatible with the Paris climate agreement. But this conclusion was based on a flawed assessment of the climate impacts, the organisation said, and without any reference to global carbon budgets.

Sir James Eadie QC, for the international trade secretary and president for the board of trade, said funding for the LNG project was the only source of foreign money that would enable Mozambique to “put in place the basics to harness its huge capacity for renewables” and defend against the effects of climate change. He said:

“In the real world, in order to lift millions of out of poverty and develop infrastructure that is necessary for the electricity grid, very significant quantities of foreign investment are needed.”

He said the project, headed by Total, would go ahead even if UKEF withdrew its funding:

“The true consequence of the UK not financing the project would be that there would be no effect on the emissions, UK business would not be supported in the way it could be and the potential would be lost to influence Mozambique and assist Mozambique in the future.”

Sir James told the court UKEF had considered the climate impacts of the project and had weighed the “obvious and inevitable” emissions against other considerations.

Friends of the Earth had argued that the UK government could not use public finance in a way that undermined the goals of the Paris Agreement. Its barrister, Jessica Simor QC, said the LNG project had a “high risk” of locking Mozambique into fossil fuels and creating stranded assets.

But Sir James said the Paris Agreement did not preclude developed countries from providing finance to countries like Mozambique.

It recognised that developing countries may have longer transition periods to low carbon economies and their emissions levels may take longer to fall.

The Paris Agreement was a “high level aspirational declaration”, he said, that had not been incorporated into UK domestic law and did not contain “clear and specific obligations”.

The case continues tomorrow when the government will complete its arguments. Judgement is expected to be reserved

  • At a separate court hearing, three campaigners argued that the Oil & Gas Authority’s strategy to “secure the maximum value of economic recoverably petroleum” from the North Sea was in conflict with its other responsibility to help the UK to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050. They said the OGA failed to take into account public subsidies and decommissioning refunds paid to oil and gas companies when assessing economic recovery. This meant that hydrocarbon extraction was not economic for the UK, they said, and encouraged the extraction of more oil and gas, causing additional greenhouse gas emissions. Judgement was reserved.

13 replies »

  1. Sorry, Mozambique, although you have your own resource FOE know better and you should have no fertilizer available to increase food production from your own land-unless you buy it in from some already rich country, which you can’t as there is insufficient revenue. (The old hole in the bucket dilemma.) They will tell you how to farm, which will be as you have done for a long time with the associated problems regarding keeping everyone fed, let alone improving levels of nutrition. And, you can save a bit of money by not sending people to other parts of the world to learn modern agriculture methods. They are not for you.

    Welcome to the brave new world, that looks just like the one that has produced high infant mortality and poverty back through time.

    Or, you can decide for yourselves using your own informed opinion rather than be controlled by others uninformed opinion, who have money to waste that your citizens can only dream of.

  2. Or, we (the developed world) can contribute to our debt to Mozambique by granting this sum unconditionally. We might however express the hope that Mozambique use it to develop agriculture and other energy options or on other projects of their choosing, but not, please not, to exacerbate the critical climate situation.
    Nothing is as simple as some would have us believe: thought is necessary from time to time. None of us have all the answers, although to some, for example FOE, the necessary direction of travel is clearer than to others.

  3. Or, we who think and communicate with people from the area, know that they would prefer to do without handouts and forget the days where they were told what to do.

    They have made their own decision, it is not up to others to try and stop them doing what they have decided on a project of their own choosing, and not patronize by claiming to be more “developed”. That we is simply trying to deny an opportunity to provide health care and education and food to millions just to serve their own ends. That is not developed, it has happened to populations throughout time and the collateral damage has been ignored. This time, a population is able to make it’s own decision, and has.

  4. Your Mmm! might have helped ratiocination- sadly lacking.
    Debt repayment is not a handout.
    Check on meaning of ‘unconditionally’.
    The ‘developed’ world is ipso facto more developed – (at the expense of countries like Mozambique of course.)
    The “decision made” if such it is, is determined by their history of subjugation, by their understandable desire to replicate what led to our ‘development’, and probably by their perception that the developed world is not willing to do what it knows to be necessary.
    Not even you can seriously claim that those active in the quest for climate justice, equity, equality, that those pressing for an end to a world order which privileges the 10% at the expense of the rest, that these thorns in the flesh of your little world, are “ trying to deny an opportunity to provide health care and education and food to millions just to serve their own ends.” I would call this a warped view had I reason to believe that it was arrived at rationally.
    Words, I am tempted to say, fail me, but clearly they don’t. Your “simple” solutions are no more than a reductio ad absurdum. Thought, I emphasise, is essential in the search for solutions.
    A Republican family in the US recently produced a Christmas photograph of a family all of whom were sporting machine guns and expressing the hope that Santa would provide the ammo. The children were no doubt fed up with a patronising rational society telling them what to do. They had made up their own minds. It’s not up to others to tell them what to do. Besides, look at Mum and Dad’s example, people we look up to. I do hope the analogy is clear (if not perfect.)

  5. I am not sure the people in Mozambique will be really interested they are keeping one or two activists occupied via plastic, thousands of miles away from their own daily concerns-of how to gain an education, health care system and food. They are more interested in whether they have enough plastic to collect water.

    They have made their decision and it will happen. Whether it happens with British or Chinese money as a loan will not concern them too much in the short term. In the longer term it should concern not only them but also the people of the UK.

    Nope, your odd analogy simply shows your desire to plonk labels upon things. What is a Republican family? Do Democrats not “enjoy” and operate the Second Amendment in USA? How can children be Republicans? By the time they come to vote they could be anything they wish. (Many kids in UK “are Labour”-until they look for employment, spend less time watching TV, and then pay taxes! Which might account for certain parties to want the voting age reduced.)

    Perhaps try and discuss the subject of oil and gas by doing a bit more research into that, rather than using DoD as a platform for your formulaic view on politics and you may actually come up with some solutions related to the subject matter. The people of Mozambique have. Perhaps you should follow their example, otherwise they may find your example of being developed an oxymoron.

    The days of the preacher from over the horizon are long gone.

  6. The usual nonsense, unrelated to anything apart from your desire to see FFs flourish, particularly plastics so derived.
    However, to descend to the level you set which of course just creates more nonsense – I don’t think it matters whether the people of Mozambique are interested in what you or I post. This however seems a major consideration for you! So off you go and “research” – you probably mean ‘google’ that! We do know what they are interested in, however, and we have laboured the point, which of course you feel the need to repeat. I suppose it adds body to an otherwise content-free post!
    What about “handouts” or “loans” which you favour, rather than unconditional (did you check the meaning?) debt repayments I argue for. Not a mention. But then there wouldn’t be, would there, from one who thinks that we have “helped” underdeveloped countries enough and that they in fact owe us for our civilising works?
    Your second paragraph predicts the future with certainty, but then fallibility was never a weakness in your argumentation.
    My analogy is certainly odd, but perhaps you missed the point of the analogy. As a by-the-way, as irrelevant as the point you struggle to make, a Republican family is a family where all the members self-identify as Republicans. Like for example a ‘French’ family, or a ‘white’ family. I hope that clarifies a tricky point in every-day English for you. The family mentioned happened to be Republicans rather than Democrats. The rest of the third paragraph is simply “what-is-he-on-about?” material.
    Your fourth paragraph is interesting. For you, only those who know about oil and gas – I’m not sure what I should be “researching”/googling – can have an opinion about the effects of the industry on planet Earth and its dwellers. Do you insist that I know how the atom was split in order to be able to have an opinion on the ethics of the use put to this discovery? Good heavens! Do I have to “research”/google ‘Tory Party’ to see what a deleterious effect said Party is having on government and my country? Sorry, more “odd” analogies for you to ponder.
    I gave no examples of “being developed” so I do not fear them being thought of as oxymoronic.
    I’ve said it before. Please check “oxymoron” in your dictionary…..and for heaven’s sake sort out your “it’s” from your “its”.
    A “preacher”, whether or not from “over the horizon”, is often the bearer of good news, news however which often ordains, commands, usually with divine sanction, a set of rules to govern behaviour with some idea of the ‘common good’ in mind. The point, I suggest, is moot whether your approach or mine best deserves the epithet ‘preaching’.
    As I often say, at least think about it.
    I post with apologies to those who understandably will have little patience with the discussion. My own is wearing thin. Ultimately I do so only to point out the flaws and dangers inherent in the (specious, as here) arguments of the FF lobby, and because I fear for my/our planet.

  7. What a lot of something!

    What it wasn’t was any awareness that the people of Mozambique had made their own decision, and nothing to do with keeping one or two activists employed who think governing someone’s behaviour is acceptable..

    What it was, was a load of attempts to wander off into your own politics and your grasp of English, incorporating some nonsense analogies along the way-the standard approach of the activist. (A “French” family stays a French family. Some kids self identify as all manner of things, it does not define them as that. Others, who want to govern behaviour, may attempt to command and define, but many will still use their own intellect to decide who they are as they mature. Sorry, the influence of the commanders is not as great as you would like.)

    Just a simple question. If you can’t be bothered to find out basic information about the industry how on earth do you feel qualified to attempt to govern/command behaviour in respect of that industry? Mind you, preachers have been doing so for centuries regarding matters of “the flesh”, so nothing new.

    Reference your odd, and disconnected, meandering off to debt repayments/loans etc., where is that intended to go? Mozambique required a loan to develop a resource that will enable a repayment of the loan to develop that resource and there will have been an assessment of that plan to make sure that is possible. Just as is done by banks across the world thousands of times per week for other projects. I would suggest the repayment to UK will come with less strings attached than if it was from one or two other sources-much to the benefit of the people of Mozambique, and to the world if much of the gas is exported to countries where it will replace coal, as intended.

    Just to help you in your constant wish to discuss the Tory Party.

    Is this the same one that has a stonking majority supplied by the electorate?

    The opposition? Would that be the Labour Party that since that stonking majority has lost one more seat in a by election, and came within a whisker of losing a second?

    Would that be the same opposition who is likely to have to try and defend another seat shortly where the last TWO Labour MPs have a somewhat dubious history, to put it very politely? With costs that they will struggle with as they have difficulty even managing their own party finances. What will be their offer? Third time lucky?

    Perhaps your country is just different to the country that the majority living within it desire? Perhaps there are many who will be rejoicing about the contract for the HS2 trains as they see good jobs secured and are not that concerned with the few who see their jobs to protest against that? Goodness, that arithmetic can be so inconvenient-but it always determines what happens.

  8. You assert: “What it wasn’t was any awareness that the people of Mozambique had made their own decision, and nothing to do with keeping one or two activists employed who think governing someone’s behaviour is acceptable.”
    Do your own research, Martin. It might mean scrawling back a couple of posts. “The “decision made” if such it is, is determined by their history of subjugation, by their understandable desire to replicate what led to our ‘development’, and probably by their perception that the developed world is not willing to do what it knows to be necessary.” I think I’d better explain this to you. I’m suggesting that this ‘decision’ was in fact not a free decision but one controlled by your industry’s lobby. Your third and fourth clauses are incomprehensible in the context: perhaps a bit of thought (and English) required. English is important if you are trying to communicate through this medium.
    In your fifth paragraph, you suggest that my point about loans v. debt repayment was “disconnected” Try reading it again. There is nothing “odd” about it, except perhaps the reaction, as this is the crux of the problem. Bit of research (or even thought) needed here, Martin, if you really want to debate. Far from advancing a disconnected argument, I suggested that the loan you advocate would not be required by the people of Mozambique if the lenders simply repaid their historical debt rather than seeking to profit from an unrepayable loan, whether requested or not. Again, perhaps a bit of historical awareness and reading skills called for.
    Yes, Martin the same ghastly and demonstrably corrupt Tory Party whose supporters, even the most rabid, are now beginning to regret their election gullibility. And yes, the same Labour Party which functions, it would appear, on a higher ethical (qv) plain despite undoubted exceptions to the general rule.
    I see you are still speaking for the country which the majority desire. I rather suspect you are wrong here – (yes, don’t waste your time, I know your Party lied sufficiently well to persuade voters that they had something to offer). I think opinions might be changing. Your faulty English impedes comprehension of your penultimate sentence. I’ve tried inserting punctuation.
    Arithmetic can be vital, Martin, provided it is not intentionally distorted, which of course leads one to doubt its usefulness.

    • You have no idea how the decision was made, 1720. You fabricate a story that has no basis in fact to create a fake narrative.

      But, that is what the activist does. Starts off with “is” and then moves onto “I’m suggesting”. Neither. Just fabrication without awareness of the facts. The amateur pundit on his plastic keyboard found also in the footie sector, ending up with Messi signing for their local club.

      So, you are not concerned about the project, just want the $1.15 billion gifted. That’s okay-you can start the crowd funding and see how that goes. I fear your influence doesn’t spread to deciding how UK tax payers money is spent, so that is the option left.

      (A gift can end up in a Swiss bank account, 1720. Tax payers have become fed up with that. A loan has considerable advantages in that respect.)

      The higher ethical plain? Hmm, wonder if everyone in Leicestershire would agree with that, or Liverpool! Or, the Jewish community? Or those who voted having been told the result would be binding and then told by some (the “leader” we should have) that People now needed to vote! If you believe that to be ethical then it may be your view, but it is not mine.

      And those poor ignorant voters, added to the poor ignorant people of Mozambique! I wonder if many of them also resort to their superiority complex when they have lost the argument. Or, do they just decide to do a bit of research and become informed so they are not seen to have lost the argument? You should try it.

      • Gosh, it’s dark and you’re posting! This is boring me, and no doubt everybody else, solid. One last word, or two – Think! Occasionally.

  9. I wouldn’t mind our wealthy politicians speculating their own cash, however earnt, on assisting poorer off citizens wherever they may be to achieve survival and enrichment.

    I am however very much against our totally embarrassing and case strapped minority government throwing what’s left of our national purse down the drain in faraway places backing damaging fossil fuel extraction.

  10. Sorry Martin, I missed your thoughtful contribution in the third paragraph where you say ” (A “French” family stays a French family. Some kids self identify as all manner of things, it does not define them as that. Others, who want to govern behaviour, may attempt to command and define, but many will still use their own intellect to decide who they are as they mature. Sorry, the influence of the commanders is not as great as you would like.)
    What in heaven’s name are you talking about. As I’ve already said I adduced the ‘French family’ idea in answer to your problem thus expressed: ” your odd analogy simply shows your desire to plonk labels upon things. What is a Republican family? Do Democrats not “enjoy” and operate the Second Amendment in USA? How can children be Republicans? By the time they come to vote they could be anything they wish. (Many kids in UK “are Labour”-until they look for employment, spend less time watching TV, and then pay taxes! Which might account for certain parties to want the voting age reduced.)”.
    As I hope will be clear to all, the only reason I mentioned a Republican family was that the relevant family so identified. Your point perhaps should be addressed to them not to me. At no time have I sought to “plonk labels; at no time have I attempted to “command”; at no time do I “define”. I do not seek to “govern” behaviour. The “French family” I mention was an analogy, not at all obscure – a French family, just like a Republican family is a family where members identify themselves as a family and as French.This section at least of your posting is utterly irrelevant and misrepresents my point of view, I suspect your motives in posting such egregious rubbish.
    Please feel free to apologize.

    • Well, thanks for repeating my posts, 1720. I know there was a lot there you could have replied to, but just repeating what I had posted was rewarding, I suppose.

      So, let us do some maths. Now we have the people of Mozambique who are controlled by their past but not able to decide their present or their futures. Then, there are all those fooled during the Brexit process. Now, there are all those who voted Tory who were also fooled. As for Republicans, goodness, they are a sorry bunch too.

      But no labels plonked! So, have I misrepresented your point of view? Not unless you wish to change your previous posts, and you have already played that card. Very judgemental and lacking much empathy would be my appraisal.

      Good try, but hoisted by your own petard-again.

      Thanks for coming back to the nonsense analogy. A French family is defined by citizenship. A Republican family is defined by themselves, or others, and if it includes children, only for a time before they may change their own self definition.

      Let me help you. I am British. I could accurately describe myself as a Republican today if that was my frame of mind, and it would be correct. I could not describe myself as French. Why? Because I am British. Let me help some more. Avoid the analogies-they are so contrived, and fail because they are.

Leave a Reply to Iaith1720 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s