The coalition of organisations working for full decarbonisation of the state sector, Fossil Free State Sector Aotearoa, acknowledges today’s announcement by the government committing to reducing state sector emissions and become a carbon-neutral Government by 2025, but laments the missed opportunity to set out a roadmap to fully decarbonise the state sector. The coalition, which includes Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA), Parents for Climate Action Aotearoa, School Strike 4 Climate NZ, OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council, Coal Action Nelson-Tasman, Coal Action Murihiku, 350 Aotearoa and 350 Auckland, represents thousands of people across Aotearoa New Zealand united to take action about the climate crisis.
This announcement follows the motion moved by the Prime Minister today to declare a climate emergency in Aotearoa New Zealand. Schools, hospitals, prisons and other state sector buildings across Aotearoa are still burning coal and other fossil fuels for heat, which is both detrimental to people’s health and adds significantly to our greenhouse gas emissions as a nation.
“We need to see the climate emergency declaration being backed up with meaningful climate action,” said Fossil Free State Sector spokesperson and member of Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Tim Jones. “Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our times and we need to do everything we can to limit its worst impacts by reducing our carbon emissions. We are pleased to see the Government has listened to the community and acknowledged the seriousness of the climate crisis with the emergency declaration – but now we need to see them back it up with clear steps to reduce our carbon emissions.”
“The phrase ‘carbon-neutral public sector’ needs to be treated with caution, because it suggests the Government may rely on offsetting to meet its target. What we want to see is a prompt end to the state sector’s use of fossil fuels, not more games of pass the carbon parcel. We are yet to see a clear roadmap for decarbonising the state sector, including a commitment to transition the more than 200 coal boilers still heating public sector buildings across Aotearoa plus the budget allocation to back it up.”
“The government must also make further commitments to ensure its approach to climate action supports workers and communities towards a low-carbon future and centres the lived experience of frontline communities that are already facing the worst impacts of climate change,” Jones said.
Fossil Free State Sector Aotearoa has been calling for an immediate ban on fossil fuel boilers and a commitment to transition all existing fossil fuel boilers from state sector buildings by 2025. “Just as with COVID, we all need to work together on climate, and we need the Government to continue to listen and work with communities to make real change,” said Jones.
About Fossil Free State Sector Aotearoa
We’re a coalition of organisations from across Aotearoa working together to achieve a fossil free state sector – one that is powered by renewable energy sources and not the fossil fuels that are radically altering our climate with devastating consequences. Read more about our campaign here.