Community members flocked to the courtyard at Bowral Memorial Hall to listen to Ian Dunlop and Dr John Hewson address the community on climate change.
The community forum on climate change on November 24 focused on the threat of climate damage and climate change and was at standing capacity.
Joe Fishburn, a climate enthusiast was one of the people who stood at the courtyard door to listen to the speakers.
"I wanted to hear the debate," he said when Southern Highland News asked why he attended the forum.
First to address the crowd on the immediate risk that climate change poses on a national and global scale was Ian Dunlop.
"In my view, this a serious issues not just in this country but also the world," he said.
"I've titled this talk 'Climate Change: An immediate existential risk to humanity' because that is what we are actually facing and it's a discussion we haven't had in this country and indeed, we haven't had globally and we need to.
"At the moment we are on a business as usual path, even after 30 years of negotiations, we have achieved nothing in terms of reducing emissions.
"The real emergency we have is emissions are going up and getting them to come down extremely fast is the biggest challenge we face.
"We have to stop any new fossil fuel projects and start winding back the existing fossil fuel industry very fast and that is something that is not being talked about."
Barry Arthur, manager of Environment and Sustainability at Wingecarribee Shire Council addressed the community what the council is doing to reduce its environmental footstep.
"For council it all starts with our community strategic plan. This is the vision for the community set out for the year 2031," he said.
"Within the strategic plan we definitely have a goal relating to climate change.
"Wingecarribee addresses, adapts and builds resilience to climate change and there are four strategies relating to that which are to manage council resource consumption, significant increases in efficiency and adoption of renewable energy, built community capacity to reduce green house gas emissions and respond to climate change.
"Council has an energy monitoring organisation in place, we have about 300 accounts for electricity, gas and water. We have an an energy management action plan that looks at energy efficient opportunities across our facilities.
"I encourage you to go to the Wingecarribee Shire Council website and have a look to see what this council has planned for adaptation of climate change in the future."
For Dr John Hewson, there has always been an opportunity to act on climate change and would like a royal inquest in to the affects of climate change.
"It doesn't matter who's in government, I think it's an immediate challenge that needs immediate action," he said.
"It is appalling to me in this country, that we still turn a blind eye and the government operates a tin ear when it comes to the details of this issue. We all have a responsibility to respond to climate change."
"It's not a left right issue, it's a moral issue. We have a responsibility as this generation to lead the world to a better shape, rather than shove the problem down the road to the next generation.
"I think we need to have a new approach to this. Perhaps we need to set up a climate change commission."
Maddie Clegg, a youth activist who was instrumental in the climate change strikes along side Steph Jedrasiak who also spoke at the forum.
"The [climate] crisis that we are facing and are experiencing has nothing to do with culture, it has nothing to do with age, it has nothing to do with gender and above all, it has nothing to do with politics," Maddie said.
"We have already pushed our planet and its resources beyond safe and sustainable levels.
"That isn't opinion or myth, it is a scientific fact backed by scientists who spend their entire lives studying our bio-physical environment.
"Whether you believe that climate change is caused by androgenic practices or not, the fact of the matter is that the climate is changing and we need to do something."
The meeting ended with a resolution announced by Climate Action Now Wingecarribee (CanWin) committee member Lyndall Dalley which stated:
"This meeting respectfully calls upon Wingecarribee Shire Council to make a Climate Emergency Declaration, recognizing the latest climate change science from the IPCC and acknowledging that our Shire is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
"Additionally, we call upon the NSW Government and the Australian Government to each make a Climate Emergency Declaration."
The resolution was passed by the public who attended the forum.
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