Climate justice organisations 350 Aotearoa, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, and Parents for Climate Action welcome Climate Change Minister Shaw’s announcement this morning that more public sector buildings will be moved off coal boilers. The climate justice organisations call for all major political parties to go a step further and commit to funding all public sector buildings to transition to clean energy and implement an immediate ban on new fossil fuel boilers.  

Today’s announcement that Lincoln and Auckland University will be supported to move away from coal boilers follows a spate of similar announcements this year that has seen a number of schools, hospitals and other public sector buildings across Aotearoa supported through the Government’s $200 million Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to transition from coal boilers to renewable energy sources.

350 Aotearoa campaigner Siri Andersen said “Moving our schools, hospitals, universities and other public sector buildings off fossil fuel boilers is long overdue. Supporting the state sector to transition to clean energy decreases New Zealand’s overall carbon emissions and improves the quality of air that we breathe. It also sends a strong signal from the government that the days of burning dirty fossil fuels like coal are numbered.”

Coal Action Network Aotearoa campaigner Tim Jones added “In 2020, in a climate crisis, it’s indefensible that coal and other fossil fuels are still burned in schools, hospitals, universities, polytechs, and other state sector institutions. From Southland to Auckland, campaigners have been working hard to get coal out of their local schools and hospitals. It’s great the Government has come on board – now it has to stay on board.”

The organisations call on major parties to commit to supporting all public sector buildings to upgrade or replace existing fossil fuel boilers by expanding the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund, and implement a ban on any new boilers that are not fuelled by renewable sources. 

“While we welcome the support that has been extended to public organisations to transition away from fossil fuel boilers, much more needs to be done to fully decarbonise the state sector,” said Andersen. “The incoming government needs to allocate a more substantive fund to support the public sector transition to renewable-powered boilers. We also need to see an immediate ban on new fossil fuel boilers in state sector buildings.”

“Whatever the result of the election, the incoming government has an important opportunity to send a clear message that burning fossil fuels to heat our schools, hospitals, universities and other state sector buildings when there are clean energy alternatives is no longer acceptable.”