02 Dec 2021
What’s happening on 7 December?
On 7 December Friends of the Earth is challenging the UK government’s decision to provide financial support for a liquified natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. Specifically, we're making a case against UK Export Finance (UKEF) on the grounds that:
- the decision was made on the incorrect basis that the project was consistent with the UK and/or Mozambique’s commitments under the Paris Agreement
- the defendants failed to consider essential issues or carry out the necessary analysis to properly determine if supporting the project aligned with the UK’s and Mozambique’s obligations under the Paris Agreement
As the Friends of the Earth legal team challenges UK government funding of the project inside the court, staff and groups will gather to challenge it outside. We're doing this alongside Justiça Ambiental (Friends of the Earth Mozambique) and in support of their ongoing fight against the plans.
What is UKEF?
UKEF stands for UK Export Finance. It’s the UK’s export credit agency and a government body. Last July it pledged $1 billion of taxpayer money to support an LNG project in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.
The project would breach the UK’s climate commitments to keep within 1.5 degrees of warming, with the emissions from the use of the gas that's extracted estimated to be equivalent to the total emissions from the aviation sector for all EU member states combined. Read more about the agency here.
What do Mozambicans think about this?
The LNG project has been embroiled in conflict and displacement since 2017. Hundreds of families have been displaced from their land and fishing grounds. These families have been moved miles inland away from the sea and without the farming lands promised to them so are now struggling to make a living without their traditional livelihoods.
There’s also evidence that energy companies have paid the government to deploy soldiers to protect their interests (the gas). Increased military presence has led to reports of human rights abuses by the army, such as killing local people and extorting and blackmailing families for the financial compensation they received from Total.
For a more in-depth look at the impacts on Mozambicans read Justiça Ambiental’s report Gas in Mozambique: A windfall for the industry, a curse for the country. You can also listen to a short interview with Justiça Ambiental’s Daniel Ribeiro on the project and its effect on local people, or read their director Anabela Lemos' first-hand account.
Why is this important and what can our groups do?
Withdrawal of government support for this project would be a huge win for the climate justice movement. It’s also vital that we pressure our MPs to send a clear international signal against the abuse of human rights wherever they overlap with government interests.
By holding a stunt outside your MP’s office on December 7 you can join the groundswell of protest against the Cabo Delgado project and help send a strong message that the UK government must pull funding for the plant. You can also share our petition calling on the Prime Minister to do this on your group's own channels.
Our network is most powerful when we coordinate to make national and international issues visible in our own communities. When we join other international Friends of the Earth organisations to support their calls we’re even stronger, and with COP still fresh in the public mind this is a great opportunity to welcome newcomers to your group and engage them in the fight for climate justice.
The action plan
If you’re a London-based group, join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 12 pm. Please register first. After that, at 1 pm, we'll be attending a rally in Lincoln's Inn Fields organised by Paid To Pollute. You can find out more here.
If you’re elsewhere in the UK, gather outside your MP’s office at the same time (or whenever you can that day). Hold a stunt or photo action and hand in our MP letter to your representative.
If you'd like to get involved in London or elsewhere, get in touch with [email protected] for more information and support.
Remember to take lots of photos or videos and share them online using the hashtag #StopFundingFossils - you'll find more social media guidelines in the toolkit below. You can also send them to [email protected] so we can share them on our channels. If you have Mozambique placards left over from the Global Day of Action bring them along too or get in touch to order some posters to make your own.
Please remember to be conscientious while planning your action. The recent murder of David Amess MP is still a sensitive issue for both MPs and the public. Make sure your action is calm and doesn’t make anyone feel under threat. You might feel it's a good idea to contact your MP in advance of the action too to let them know you're coming and what you'll be doing.
If you can’t hold your stunt or hand in the letter to your MP on the same day then you can still organise it for anytime between Friday 3 December to Thursday 9 December.
If you get a quote or a statement from your MP about the project, great! We’d love to hear it so let us know at [email protected]. Also, you can use our press release template in advance of the action to try to get some local press coverage.
Here are some stunt suggestions but do whatever works best for your group and feel free to get creative:
- Make a homemade pipeline to funnel monopoly money through with cardboard flames on the other end.
- Print out messages and quotes from Mozambicans about the effects of the project. Find quotes you can use below and apply to the local or Climate Action group funds if you need financial support for printing.
- Reuse the earth heads and snakes and ladders game from the Global Day of Action if you have these.
- Reach out to any Mozambican groups in your area to see if they’d like to be involved or send you a statement you could read out.
- In advance of Human Rights Day on 10 December, reach out to human rights groups in your area to see if they’d like to support your stunt.
- If you can’t get to your MP’s office in person, take a photo of yourself or your group holding signs saying ‘Stop Funding Gas In Mozambique’. You can post it online using the hashtag #StopFundingFossils (get more social media guidelines in the toolkit below). Be as creative as you can with your signs and photo!
Here's a list of useful resources you can use to help you get the most out of your action.
- Download and edit our MP letter to hand into your representative
- Use our press release template in advance of the action to try to get some local press coverage.
- Use our social media toolkit to help you promote your action and your activity leading up to the court case to keep pressure up on the government
- Read Justiça Ambiental’s report Gas in Mozambique: A windfall for the industry, a curse for the country to fine tune your arguments for MPs
- Get in touch to order some posters to make your own placards (or for anything else you need). You can also edit the poster image to print out or use online yourself.
Quotes from Mozambique
From a Justiça Ambiental (Friends of the Earth Mozambique) statement in October:
‘The already impoverished communities will see none of these benefits.’
‘The UK must begin to see Mozambicans as people.’
‘If the UK government is truly concerned for the suffering in Cabo Delgado, it must stop financing all gas exploration in Mozambique.’
From this report:
‘A curse for the population of Mozambique.’
From this interview with Anabela Lemos, the director of Justiça Ambiental:
‘Stop investing in fossil fuels in your own country, and in ours.’
‘People in Mozambique know this is climate chaos. They know what's going on. They are going to come and challenge everyone in northern countries and ask - why are you continuing to do this to us?’
‘We know we are on the frontline of climate breakdown.’
Training and support
Sign up for our 1 December webinar on the action to get updates and share plans with other groups.