NGO accuses France of starting Mozambique 'climate bomb'

Mozambique landscape.
Mozambique landscape.
Gabi Zietsman
  • Friends of the Earth accused France of planting a "ticking climate bomb" in Mozambique that threatens "irreversible climate crisis".
  • French oil giant Total is developing a mega-project to exploit natural gas in Mozambique, discovered off in the early 2010s.
  • The discovery could transform one of the poorest countries on the planet into a leading exporter of liquefied natural gas.


Friends of the Earth accused France on Monday of planting a "ticking climate bomb" in Mozambique, where French oil giant Total is developing a mega-project to exploit natural gas.

"For several years now, the entire arsenal of French economic diplomacy has been working to defend French interests in Mozambique," the NGO said, notably "a myriad of French companies in the fossil fuel industry and adjacent sectors".

The report, titled "A windfall for the industry, a curse for the country: France thrusts Mozambique into the gas trap", said $60 billion will be invested in vast underwater reserves that were discovered off the country's northern coast in the early 2010s.

Estimated at 5 000 billion cubic metres, the discovery could transform one of the poorest countries on the planet into a leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

However, FOE charged, "French machinations are forcing yet another African country into dependency on fossil fuels... in the name of the economic interests of French energy industrials and bankers."

The report noted that three gas projects currently under development "could release as much as the equivalent of seven times France's annual greenhouse gas emissions, and 49 times Mozambique's current national annual emissions."

It added: "This is a ticking climate bomb ready to explode and will contribute to pushing the world even further towards the irreversible climate crisis."

Total, ExxonMobil of the United States and Italy's ENI hope to start exploiting the reserves by 2022-23, with Total planning to invest $25 billion in the venture.

The gas reserves are located in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the centre for the last two and a half years of an Islamist insurgency which has left at least 1 100 dead, according to a count by the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

The London-based organisation accuses France of "helping ignite tensions in Cabo Delgado province by supporting multinational gas companies and the militarisation of the zone."

Friends of the Earth said "French companies including private banks and energy companies like Total must immediately put an end to their involvement in gas projects in Mozambique."

It also singled out the French banks Credit Agricole and Societe Generale as "the major players, acting as financial advisors to the gas operators" in the former Portuguese colony on Africa's southeastern coast.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
How has the delay in schools' opening impacted your life?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a disaster! We're struggling to manage work and kids at home
41% - 1628 votes
It's a struggle, but we learnt lessons from last year's closures
19% - 771 votes
It's a relief, this second wave is bad and kids need to be at home
40% - 1580 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.23
(-0.77)
ZAR/GBP
20.84
(-0.63)
ZAR/EUR
18.51
(-0.51)
ZAR/AUD
11.75
(-0.66)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.77)
Gold
1854.63
(-0.13)
Silver
25.31
(-0.86)
Platinum
1095.00
(-0.36)
Brent Crude
55.02
(0.00)
Palladium
2336.50
(-0.77)
All Share
64559.85
(+0.89)
Top 40
59408.05
(+0.89)
Financial 15
11549.82
(-1.16)
Industrial 25
88868.70
(+2.65)
Resource 10
62256.06
(-0.71)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo