A Christchurch geography teacher says a school essay competition run by state-owned coal company Solid Energy is misleading.
Students are being asked to write an essay titled The Role of Coal in Sustainable Energy Solutions for New Zealand.
The writer of the best essay will win a trip for two to Shanghai, to visit the New Zealand pavilion which Solid Energy is sponsoring at the World Expo.
Aranui High School teacher Chris Henderson says the company is misrepresenting the impact the burning of coal has on the environment.
Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder says the teacher has misunderstood the nature of the competition.
He says it is on the role of coal in a sustainable energy system, and students can form their own views.
Solid Energy says independent judges will choose the winner.