The Fossil Free State Sector Coalition, made up of a number of climate focussed organisations and unions; NZEI Te Riu Roa, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council, Post Primary Teachers’ Association and 350 Aotearoa, is disappointed with the lack of funding for state sector decarbonisation announced in the 2022 budget this Thursday. 

Alana Kane, campaigns and mobilisation manager for 350 Aotearoa and the Fossil Free State Sector said “It’s deeply disappointing: despite a looming goal of state sector decarbonisation by 2025, both the Emissions Reduction Plan and Budget 2022 have made no new announcements that further its ability to actually achieve this. The Government has done too little, and too late – instead of reducing its emissions to get to zero, the Government’s plan is clearly now to offset its way there.

It begs the question: if our state sector plans to carbon offset in order to reach net zero, who will pay for these credits and how do the costs compare to the costs of decarbonising? and does this actually have any effect on the systemic cause of the climate disaster?

The state sector includes our hospitals, prisons, universities and schools, relied on by some of our most vulnerable community members. To leave funding to decarbonise these out of the ERP and budget is to miss some of our most basic opportunities for significant change that could transform lives and future proof these services for our people and communities.

We recognise that the decision to transition all schools that burn coal as a heating source to renewables, announced on May 6th was a step in the right direction – but what about hospitals, prisons and other public buildings that still burn coal, and other fossil fuels? The Fossil Free State Sector Coalition wants to see action on decarbonising the state sector, not defaulting to carbon offsets.