Some have called it a political stunt, but Mithra Cox has welcomed a move by fellow Councillor Ann Martin for Wollongong Council to declare a climate emergency.
The Greens councillor said Cr Martin's motion, set to be debated at next Monday night's council meeting, acknowledges the seriousness of the problem.
"While there is not specific action in this particular motion, I think having that really strong statement from the council makes it much easier for our staff to act in accordance with that declaration."
Cr Cox encouraged other local councils to follow suit.
"I think there is over 20 councils that have already moved similar motions so there is a lot of action happening already," she said.
"There is such a strength of feeling in local communities that action is so important but it is difficult to get that feeling across to higher levels of government.
"Local councils are closer to their communities and it is easier for us to respond to requests from our citizens and it is obvious they want us to be proactive when it comes to action on climate change."
Cr Cox said while climate change has been "politically polarised for decades", now was the time for all to work together on solutions.
"This is an important motion that acknowledges the seriousness of the problem, and the short time we have left to take serious action," she said.
"We don't have decades left to turn this ship around and gradually reduce emissions. We need to act now. This year, this month, today.
"While we wait for our federal and state governments to grow up and take responsibility, local communities can and should start taking action to address climate change, and council has a leadership role to play.
"For too long the only action on climate action has been from individuals and in the private sector.
"We look forward to this first step to formally acknowledge climate change is a real threat to our wellbeing and work with staff to bring about positive changes for the community."