On Friday 22nd of April (Earth Day) at 1.30 pm, 350 Aotearoa handed over their petition to the House of Representatives which calls for an immediate ban on new fossil fuel boiler installations in the state sector and gained over 19 000 signatures over the past weeks.
Alva Feldmeier (Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa) said, “The people of Aotearoa are getting on board calling for an end to fossil fuels and a just transition to renewables. It’s clear that the public feels strongly about banning new fossil fuel boilers in places where our people should be kept safe; schools, hospitals, and corrections facilities. This petition to the house of representatives is offering our government an opportunity to take concrete steps to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”
“In 2018 the Labour government banned new oil and gas exploration permits which we welcomed and understood to be a monumental step forward in making Aotearoa fossil free. Now we need Parliament to ensure that further steps are being taken to ensure our reliance on fossil fuels is further reduced”, adds Feldmeier.
Climate Justice advocates gathered at 12 pm at Midland Park for Earth Day celebrations that included the handover of the petition to the house calling for a ban on new fossil fuel boilers in the state sector. At 1.30 pm, Green MP Jan Logie (spokesperson for state services) accepted the petition on behalf of the house of representatives that is expected to be presented in parliament in early May. Students, union representatives, and climate justice advocates will give speeches at the handover.
Sophia Strawbridge (Student from Kapiti College) in her speech at the handover said “With the help of the Fossil Free Schools Campaign and many more organisations we are giving ourselves a fighting chance because the ones who have the power to political change are refusing to hear us. We need to cooperate to implement immediate and meaningful solutions such as decarbonising schools.”
When accepting the petition, Green MP Jan Logie expressed that she said Parliament should take the time to discuss these important issues as the Government needed to take the lead and take the next steps for more climate action.
Alana Kane (350 Aotearoa Campaign and Mobilisation Manager) says “The science is clear that we need urgent action to stop any new fossil fuel expansion and keep the majority of existing fossil fuels in the ground. For this to happen, our government needs to commit to getting coal, oil, and gas out of the state sector.”
“It appears the government is not sticking to their carbon neutral state sector by 2025 promise as not enough funding has been allocated to replace all existing fossil fuel boilers in our schools, hospitals and prisons. The least they can do is ensure no further boilers are installed”, states Kane.
A thorough investigation by the Fossil Free State Sector Coalition has revealed that despite the Carbon Neutral Government Programme (which has committed $219.5 million towards state sector decarbonisation), and the government’s commitment to a carbon-neutral state sector by 2025, ministries have continued to fund new fossil fuel heating installations as recent as 3 years ago.
In the evening of Earth Day, 350 Aotearoa is hosting an action in Midland Park on Lambton Quay outside NZ’s largest emitter, Fonterra. The action involves light projections on the NTT building to hold our biggest climate criminal accountable and call for Fonterra to decarbonise their fossil fuel boilers by 2025, halve the herd, and cut synthetic fertiliser.
Alva Feldmeier – 022 4378715
Photos by Eduardo Salazar Moreira