Burning coal, oil and gas is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide from human activity and it contributes to air and water pollution. There are clear links between fossil fuel use and serious illness or death. Fossil fuels have no place in schools, hospitals and prisons. We need the government to take concrete steps to phase out fossil fuels in our state sector. 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.
Sign our open letter to the House of Representatives calling for a ban on new installations of fossil fuel boilers in schools and the wider state sector. It's up to us to send a clear message to our government that there can be no place for fossil fuel boilers that put our health and climate at risk in our schools, hospitals and other state sector buildings.
Sign our open petition to call on the House of Representatives to immediately ban new installations of fossil fuel boilers in schools and the wider state sector.
Tēnā koutou katoa,
I call on you to announce an immediate ban on all new installations of fossil fuel boilers in schools and the wider state sector. Fossil fuels have no place in schools and we need you to take concrete steps to phase out fossil fuels in our state sector.
In Hakihea (December) 2020 the House of representatives declared a climate emergency, and Prime Minister Ardern declared the governments' climate response as our generation's 'nuclear-free moment'. Like with the stand against nuclear energy, overcoming this issue will require strong leadership, ambition, and determination. The window of time in which to reduce our carbon emissions and limit the worst impacts of climate change is getting smaller every day.
I call on the House of Representatives to ban new fossil fuel boilers installations in our schools and the wider state sector. Burning coal, oil and gas is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide from human activity and it contributes to air and water pollution. The links between fossil fuel use and serious illness or death are becoming clearer every day. Health professionals are telling us that air pollution in Aotearoa causes over 1,200 premature deaths per year, and a significant proportion of this is derived from fossil fuel burning, as well as its contribution to hospitalisations from asthma and respiratory infections. The main burden of these is borne by children living in poorer and more marginalised circumstances. I understand that our government has already committed to making the state sector carbon neutral by 2025 and subsequently allocated $219.5 million to through the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund. Progress has been too little and too slow. Whilst we know that this funding has, amongst other initiatives, allowed the Ministry of Education to replace coal boilers with low-emission alternatives such as wood pellet boilers and heat pumps by July 2023. However, we’re concerned that this does not address the full extent of fossil fuel reliance in our state sector.
While 90 schools were funded to transition in the past two years, I was appalled to find out that the Ministry of Education has advocated for over 40 new fossil fuel boilers to be installed in the past 10 years. Instead of transitioning off fossil fuels entirely, we know that at least 27 schools have had to transition from coal to gas, oil, or diesel. 16 or more schools were fitted with new fossil fuel boilers instead of immediately offering cleaner alternatives. Schools rely on the Ministry of Education’s 5 Year Agreement funding and were being recommended to transition to gas in order to receive funding as recent as 3 years ago. For that reason, I am asking the House of Representatives today to ban all new installations and transitions to fossil fuel heating sources in Aotearoa.
Prioritising the transitioning of all existing fossil fuel boilers in state sector buildings to renewably-sourced heating will send a strong signal that burning coal and gas for heating is no longer acceptable when there are effective alternatives available. As a first step, we need an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel boilers installations in the state sector.