A MOTION to have Albury Council acknowledge a "climate emergency" has been scuttled after claims such language was "alarmist" and "unnecessary".
Instead councillors agreed firstly to recognise "that climate change is one of the most significant issues that will impact the social, cultural, economic and environmental health and well-being of our community" and "act accordingly with all" council policies and programs.
Secondly they have "committed to promoting the reduction of carbon emissions, to support our community and businesses to be climate ready and to facilitate practices of regeneration, stewardship and sustainability for our city".
Deputy mayor and Greens councillor Amanda Cohn wanted the motion altered to swap climate change for the words "climate emergency".
She said emergency defined what was occurring with the climate and similar motions had been supported by the Local Government Association of NSW and councils as diverse as Bega Valley and Broken Hill.
"I think that we should use the correct terminology that would have meaning to people in our community," Cr Cohn said.
But former mayor Henk van de Ven said "there's probably 50,000" councils that have not use the word emergency.
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"We want to try and get the majority of our people on board with the sentiment of this particular motion and the actions around it, we don't need to be alarmist or be using the emergency word," he said.
Councillor Darren Cameron said he believed the world was experiencing an emergency but in the interests of a unanimous vote on recognising climate action he believed it was superfluous.
"It is unnecessary in the greater scheme of things," he said during the debate at Monday night's meeting.
Cr Cameron, a Labor Party member, then savaged the Greens for failing to support an emissions trading scheme and suggested Cr Cohn was politicking.
"We had an opportunity for this to sail through tonight with unanimous support but the temptation to grandstand was just too much," he said.
Cr Cohn said "it's very unfortunate that this debate has become politicised by some and that includes some members of this council".
Her motion was lost 6-3 with mayor Kevin Mack and John Stuchbery in support, but Cr Cameron and Cr van de Ven joining David Thurley, Murray King, Alice Glachan and Graham Docksey in opposition.
Cr Thurley then moved the successful statement.
"Yes it does not use the word emergency but it says in the strongest terms that climate change is a significant issue for our community and for the country and the world," he said.
Cr King was the only naysayer on the final motion but did not outline his reasoning to the meeting.
He told The Border Mail on Tuesday he did not believe the statement was necessary.
"It's not the right time," Cr King said.
"There's a little bit of a political background behind it and I don't think it's warranted to sing from the tree tops, just go ahead and do it.
"I see it (climate change acknowledgement) in the actions rather than the rhetoric."
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