A motion to have Cootamundra 'concerned citizen' Jim Main address Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council on the science and facts about climate change was defeated at this week's council meeting.
In a colourful interlude in council proceedings, those opposed to the motion argued that councils postured too often about things over which they had no control.
Cr Gil Kelly asked "What is our little council going to do with regard to climate emergency?
"We could turn every light off in this whole shire and be walking around like the Flintstones, it wouldn't do a thing to help the climate."
Discussion of the issue was prompted by a report prepared by Cr Leigh Bowden on the Local Government Association's annual meeting held at Warwick Farm in October.
Cr Bowden said she had been impressed by a motion put up by Ryde Council acknowledging a climate emergency and similar positions adopted by five other councils, including Parkes.
"Mr Main has been involved in educating himself and others about the facts about climate change for a number of years now and has been endorsed by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO.
"He approached me earlier this year about doing a presentation to council."
Cr Kelly said he did not believe there was a climate emergency, and that if Mr Main was going to be invited someone else should also be invited to share their thoughts that there is no emergency.
Cr Phillips said if the people invited were just ordinary people with no qualifications, it would open up a can of worms.
"It would just be a case of 'he said, she said', he said.
Cr Bowden said that in that case, she could recommend Dr Paul Fraser, an eminent climate scientist with CSIRO, who would she thought be willing to address council for free.
Cr Kelly moved an amendment that council stick to its core business, which did not involve climate emergencies.
"If we declare a climate emergency like some other councils have done what cost is that going to be to our ratepayers?
"Is it just going to be another level of compliance for anyone wanting to open up a business in the town?
"There are so many variables we don't know about, I don't know why we're getting involved."
Cr Bowden said the council's business was looking after the community.
"Whether climate change is real or not, there isn't necessarily a cost involved - if we look at the waste strategy it's looking at the way people do things to eliminate waste, like turning off lights.
"Preparing our community for the future in whatever way is in our power, be it education, it's in our interests that the community is up to speed with all the issues facing us."
Cr Sheahan said the council was in the business of risk management, and the business community was taking a great deal of interest in climate change, particularly the insurance industry.
Both Cr Kelly's motion and Cr Bowden's motion were lost.