A push to declare a climate emergency in Wagga has prompted speculation over whether one city has the power to make a meaningful difference in a global phenomenon.
City councillor Vanessa Keenan will introduce a motion to council at its July 8 meeting in a bid to trigger the citywide declaration.
If approved, the city would then be added to the 658 other local governments around the world that have done similarly.
But its practicalities have been questioned by fellow councillor Paul Funnell who believes the situation reflects the advancement of "a leftist-green religion" that is better left to the federal sphere.
"These ridiculous discussions are not worth the oxygen," Cr Funnell said.
"It's completely outside the space of where the local government should be dabbling."
The question of whether one city can make a global difference is one that Gareth Johnston has confronted for the past 20 years.
A post-graduate researcher in resilience, renewal and sustainability, Mr Johnston heads Wagga Charles Sturt University's 'Green' group on environmental strategy.
Owning a small farm of his own, he is also the chairman of Murrumbidgee Landcare.
"From my perspective, an emergency is a call to attention and to action," Mr Johnston said.
"When people think of an emergency they think 'panic', but an emergency is not to create alarm or fear."
Mr Johnston the biggest difference Wagga could make is in creating a collective that is too big to ignore at a federal level.
"Climate change is ultimately a local issue played out on a global stage," he said.
"Council is one part of a big jigsaw, connecting with other councils and regions.
"Wagga can bring other councils together, organising the efforts on climate planning.
"For example, flood risk management, that is something the whole Riverina should be working towards and it is one of the challenges we'll face more as the climate changes."
But requiring new business developments to be made accountable for their carbon footprint, Cr Funnell believes would force "developers to run from town".
"It's nonsense to require every single development to fill out more paperwork, and foot an enormous cost at the end," Cr Funnell said.
"I think Wagga City Council is doing more than enough. We do as much as we can but this will cost ratepayers needlessly and send a clear sign to investors that they won't want to be here."
Conversely, Mr Johnston sees the inclusion as a distinct opportunity for the city's growth.
"The city could attract resilient businesses to its Special Activation Precinct in Bomen.
"We know that electric car manufacturers, for example, are looking for places in Australia to begin operations. Wagga could attract that.
"We're the breadbasket of the nation, we could look into developing sustainable fuels, perhaps hydrogen fuels, to take our produce across the country."
Standing in agreement with Mr Johnston, environmental educator and sustainability scientist at ErinEarth, Ben Holt, believes it will be the symbolic action of Wagga Council that will spark the most change.
"The impact of one city is huge in both creating climate change, and creating the solution," he said.
"Without individual cities, there is no global movement. Global change begins with one city."