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Lincoln backs call to arms on climate change

30 August 2019

Lincoln University wholeheartedly supports its students’ association in demanding urgent action on climate change.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie has received a letter from Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) President Kristy Havill, asking that he enable staff and students to attend the School Strike 4 Climate NZ on 27 September.

Students’ associations from all New Zealand universities have issued similar letters to their institutions’ Vice-Chancellors.

Professor McKenzie said Lincoln’s strong, agriculturally-based history is also where the future lies, and the university is passionate about the need to protect the land.

“Environmental sustainability is a huge part of who we are, and we completely support this initiative,” he said. “Sustainability is taught across the university’s academic programmes and is a major research focus in most departments.”

Addressing climate issues also forms a crucial part of Lincoln University’s strategic direction, with an $8m investment being made into energy diversification over the next decade.

“The university has initiated an energy review management programme across campus to achieve best practice sustainability outcomes, including adopting environmental sustainability metrics and responding to the objectives detailed in our Environmental Sustainability Policy,” Professor McKenzie said. “The review will help us to develop a campus energy strategy and provide a clearer picture of the options available, offering a framework for decision-making about energy choices.”

Lincoln will also phase out the use of coal over the next several years, with a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Its use of 50% coal will be reduced to 0% by 2025, when its resource consent for coal expires.

“The resource consent will not be renewed, with no new load added to the coal fire boiler,” Professor McKenzie said. “We’re also actively implementing alternative energy sources, with a focus on reducing the load as opportunities arise, while making the boiler cleaner by considering filter flue gas and replacing the fuel source with greener alternatives.”

Reinvestment options on the boiler and energy networks will be considered early next year.

“Lincoln’s current energy load is 50% electricity, to be further diversified by 2025. The university has recently signed a three-year contract with Meridian Energy, a carbon-neutral certified company.”

Additionally, there are plans to implement solar power on campus over the next few months, with solar to be installed on the roof of the Te Keta Ika Dining Hall. Other buildings will subsequently receive solar installations.

Further initiatives include modelling on wind-generated power and using ground source heat pumps. The university is also developing plans to transform the campus into a living laboratory, creating interactive spaces for learning and research.

“Also playing important roles in addressing the climate crisis are the Sustainability Action Group for our Environment, together with the student-run Lincoln Environmental Organisation, who receive strong support from LUSA,” said Professor McKenzie.

In her letter to the Acting Vice-Chancellor, the LUSA President highlighted the fact that the students of Lincoln University are studying to prepare themselves to be the leaders of tomorrow.

“If we do not act now, the future will be less bright, and we will inherit the cost of inaction. This is why we need our tertiary institutions, more than ever, to stand alongside us in this campaign.”


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