Alex Crowe's article on 7 December, with the headline, 'Action Can't be Reckless' achieved something important for Orange voters.
It neatly encapsulated the views of all three levels of current government representation in Orange about the global challenge of our warming world.
It indicated a reluctance at all three levels, to accept the science from experts, with each using different arguments to distract from, or cast doubt on the science or minimise motivation for action on climate change, without backing up those arguments with reliable sources.
In her article, Ms Crowe was covering the launch of an expert report from the Climate Council, that forecasts long, hot and dangerous summers with heatwaves, drought, water shortages and bushfires for regions including Orange and asked our local, state and federal leaders for comment.
State MP Phil Donato, stated that "needless to say" he disagreed with Professor Will Steffen that climate change was supercharging extreme weather events.
Is it "needless" because Mr Donato thinks voters wouldn't have any expectation other than that he would disagree with this peer reviewed and highly respected climate scientist?
Then, without giving a verifiable reason as to why he disagreed (such as an opposing view from an equally respected and peer-reviewed scientist) Mr Donato went straight into making negative presumptions about the author's personal carbon emissions and referred to Steffen's work as an "agenda."
The focus on Professor Steffen's (unknown) carbon footprint is a distraction from the subject as is the suggestion that providing everyday Australians with facts on the consequences of unabated climate change while there is still a small window of opportunity to do something about it, is somehow an "agenda" not to be trusted?
Mr Donato states that farmers he has spoken to are more concerned about things like "excessive red tape" than climate.
Could the total number of farmers Mr Donato has spoken to exceed the 5,000 farmers who are members of Farmers For Climate Action, including Central West Farmer, Mr Robert Lee, on whose property the Climate Council report was launched?
Mayor Reg Kidd responded to the recent launch of Extinction Rebellion Central West, who will petition Orange City Council to declare a climate emergency.
Mr Kidd said he wouldn't be "bullied or embarrassed," but didn't give any indication of why he thought this treatment might be likely.
XR Central West's only event so far has been a peaceful picnic.
Embarrassment is perhaps best avoided by speaking only about scientific facts from the most reliable, peer-reviewed sources.
Mr Kidd claimed that there are "long-term scientific studies that highlight gaps in the understanding of global temperatures," but didn't state the sources of such studies for readers to verify.
Any source that Mr Kidd might refer to, would need to have greater levels of scrutiny than the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which has thousands of scientists producing its reports and climate modelling and is recognised by the Australian Government's Department of Environment, as the most reliable source of information about climate change.
The Department says of the IPCC's reports: "This unprecedented level of peer and government review makes this compendium of climate change science one of the most scrutinised documents in the history of science."
Mr Kidd says that Orange City Council has been "actively working to protect the environment for years".
Many voters would agree and commend the council on its recycling and water consumption credentials but unless this work also includes a strategic and responsible climate policy, setting a date to achieve net zero emissions (as the Wollongong City Council did this month, for its own operations by 2030 and the city as a whole by 2050) then our town is not playing its part and will be a slow follower.
Federal Member Andrew Gee was quoted saying that Australians do want to look after the environment, including dealing with climate change, but "not recklessly".
The suggestion that there is anything reckless about creating responsible climate policies creates an unfounded fear of adopting solutions.
It would seem more reckless to support new and continuing fossil fuel production when the most reliable science (IPCC) states clearly that this must stop if we are to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic and unstoppable climate change.
Last month, 11,000 scientists from around the world signed a climate emergency declaration, warning of "untold suffering" unless the world slashes carbon emissions in the coming decade.
Ignoring the advice of 11,000 experts and the IPCC seems more reckless than to follow their advice.
Political leaders globally, in other states and local governments have recognised the need to urgently contribute to the collective effort to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming.
They are setting their regions up for exciting opportunities to prosper in the growing new, low-carbon economy.
The article was a good reminder of the important responsibility each of us has when we vote, how important it is to have the correct knowledge ourselves on urgent issues and to take some time to check whether candidates in an election are also armed with the facts to understand the scale, magnitude and urgency of this problem.
We have a local government election in September 2020, a state government election by 2023 and Federal election by 2022.
Voters should look forward to seeing the personal climate policies of all candidates, considering the decades ahead, to make the decisions now that will keep us safe in the future.\
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