ECAs and Fossil Fuels

(ECA Watch, Ottawa, 29 May 2021) TXF News recently pronounced Mozambique's LNG Area 1 project as the winner of its energy financing ECA-backed deal of the year, highlighting the "battle" between coal and gas (and oil) in the industry's efforts to survive efforts to halt climate change, following the International Energy Agency's (IEA) recent warning that we must reduce CO2 emmissions to net-zero by 2050. The IEA report on May 18 noted that "nations around the world would need to immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil and gas fields and quickly phase out gasoline-powered vehicles if they want to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change." A recent Oil Change International legal opinion has also warned about the legal consequences of continuing to back fossil fuel projects elsewhere in the world. The fossil fuel industry and some governments had begun to make noises about ceasing funding for coal, claiming that LNG is "safer", hence TXF's apparent "praise" for the US$29 billion ECA backed Mozambique LNG project. However, a 2018 Rentar Environmental Solutions study notes that natural gas contributes more to global warming than coal, gasoline and diesel, far more in fact. UKEF funding of Mozambique's LNG plans are now the subject of a UK court review as well as the subject of an EXIM scandal over its loan guarantee for a Greensill Capital investment in a Texas gas terminal, approved to dampen US fossil fuel industry opposition to EXIM's support for their competitor Anadarko Petroleum's 26.5% share in the huge Mozambique LNG project. To round off the controversies, Total's Mozambique operations, the recipient of multiple ECA financial supports, have had to be cancelled as the result of a jihadist assault on a nearby town.