A significant turnout to the recent Global Climate Strike event in Bathurst has prompted a respected local conservationist to advocate for a holistic approach to the climate change discussion.
Last Friday, more than 200 people marched from the Bathurst Court House to Machattie Park as part of a global movement to push for greater action on climate change.
The event generated a significant response online from both supporters and sceptics of climate action, with sceptics taking aim at supporters' reliance on petrol-powered vehicles and electricity.
In response, Charles Sturt University Adjunct Professor David Goldney has suggested a public forum for supporters and sceptics to debate the issue.
"There's no reason why we can't debate this issue civilly," Adjunct Professor Goldney said.
"If we got somebody from both sides to present a point-by-point speech on their respective view, it could allow for a healthier discussion on climate change."
Adjunct Professor Goldney, who was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia [AM] last year for his work in the field of environmental science, said he would gladly put his hand up to speak for the supporters.
"It's important to examine the scientific trends: the planet is warming, polar ice caps are melting at a quicker rate than normal, and the number of serious weather events are increasing," he said.
"No one is saying that coal should be phased out immediately, but the renewable energy sector is growing exponentially and we can't ignore the global transition."
According to the latest statistics from the Department of the Environment and Energy, 60 per cent of Australia's electricity is generated by coal and 17 per cent by renewable sources.
Adjunct Professor Goldney has challenged sceptics of climate change to debates in the past to no avail but following the response to last Friday's strike, he said a continued discussion around the issue could produce a clearer result.
"There's plenty of climate change sceptics in the community, so we should give them the opportunity to put forward their case in a forum," he said.