The legal campaign to stop oil drilling at Horse Hill in Surrey is one of four cases that Friends of the Earth has highlighted as threatening the UK’s climate reputation. Another of the four is the UK providing $1.15 billion in funding for liquid gas drilling in Mozambique, fuelling human rights abuses.
Mozambican campaigner Kete Fumo sent a message of solidarity with those fighting the Horse Hill case – and called on UK citizens to support and publicise their fight. Her message was broadcast at the Horse Hill Climate Justice Rally on 6 November:
My name is Kete Fumo, and this is a message from us at Justiça Ambiental/ Friends of the Earth Mozambique, also known as JA!, to the people of the UK.
We want you to know about the impact of the gas industry in Mozambique, an industry that your government is financing with taxpayers’ money. In Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique, 3 massive LNG projects are planned, which involved giants like Total, Eni, ExxonMobil, BP and the governments of the US, China and Japan. We work closely with communities on the ground whose lives have been destroyed by the gas industry even before it has extracted any gas. Already, it has displaced thousands of people who were in its way, moving fishing communities far from the sea and farmers far from their land. People have been left without livelihoods and are living in dire poverty.
The gas industry has also played a part in the violent conflict in the region between insurgents, the armies of Rwanda and Mozambique, and mercenaries, who have turned Cabo Delgado into a warzone. 800,000 people are now refugees. While the industry and government has always said the insurgents are Islamic terrorists, the reality is far more complex, as locals have become increasingly angry seeing their province’s wealth being plundered by the political elite and transnational corporations. But the gas industry refuses to take any responsibility.
The climate impact will be major and irreversible, totally misaligned with the Paris Agreement. The Environmental Impact Assessment shows that just the construction phase of the project will increase the greenhouse gas emissions of Mozambique by up to 14%
The UK Export Finance agency, better known as UKEF, is financing the Mozambique LNG project with $1 billion. They are well aware of all the issues the industry has created – we and our partners and friends in the UK have told them several times – in letters, in parliament and in meetings and it has been in the media for years
Yet, they always find some excuse, and say that gas is necessary to develop Africa. However, the already poor communities will see none of these benefits, just as they have not seen any from other international companies who have been exploiting the country’s resources for decades.
In Britain there are things you can do to help. Support and publicise the court appearance of Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland on 7 December, to put pressure on the justice system to cancel the financing of Mozambique gas, using public money. Support our friends fighting the Horse Hill oil production at their hearing. Talk to your politicians. Take the issue to the media. Keep making a noise.
JA! demands that the UK cancels its financing of Mozambique gas! Gas is not a transition fuel, and gas is not clean energy. The UK must stop its colonial practices of stealing Africa’s resources while leaving destruction, conflict and suffering in its wake. It must no longer bring riches and power to London at the expense of the Mozambican people.
Solidarity from us in Mozambique, to you and the environmental defenders in the UK. Let’s keep up the fight!
Read Friends of the Earth’s briefings: