Philippa Rowland was in Paris during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
“One thing about [Donald] Trump pulling out is there is no doubt the US is a big emitter, so pulling out is not helpful,” Ms Rowland said.
“So far 195 countries signed up, and 146 have ratified. I think that speaks that climate change is no longer theoretical, it is a lived experience.”
She said while the move was an election promise, and “no secret in the Twittersphere”, states have taken the slack and are setting their own targets.
“There is a sense America has isolated itself. Though many states are following through despite his decision,” she said.
Ms Rowland made the trip as a member of the community delegation with UN accreditation through the Climate Action Network Australia.
While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the American president’s decision “disappointing”, Ms Rowland said “we have a shameful side of the coin ourselves”.
“Our Prime Minister made a deal with Adani, and that’s in our home at the moment,” she said.
“There has been a knee-jerk reaction from government away from things that appear to have failed in the past such as a carbon price, and a move towards including gas and coal as clean energy.
“2020 is less than three years away, it’s outrageous.”
She said while the town of Tathra appears on track to meeting its 2020 target of reducing the town’s power needs by 50 per cent, and generating half its energy needs from renewable sources, others are not so close.
The motivation for the creation of the Clean Energy for Eternity group came about while local orthopedic surgeon Matthew Nott was sitting on Tathra Beach, reading Dr Tim Flannery’s book The Weather Makers in scorching 40 degree heat.
These days Dr Flannery is head of the Climate Council, and will be visiting Bega on Tuesday to host a forum alongside Bega Valley Shire mayor Kristy McBain on ways communities and councils can work together to combat climate change.
Earlier this year council was just one of 15 councils invited by the Climate Council to participate in the Cities Power Partnership.