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The meeting was hosted by the Invercargill Clutha Southland Branch of the Green Party, and attendees were also provided with information about the Zero Carbon Bill, and how to make a submission.
The Bill is intended to address climate change issues, and would set a plan to reduce New Zealand's emissions - a target of net zero carbon by 2050 or sooner.
Environment Southland are to vote on whether they will declare a climate emergency on July 3.
Councillor Robert Guyton spoke to around 30 event-goers, urging them to attend the meeting when councillors vote.
"My only hope in getting the council to vote in favour of declaring a climate emergency is through you."
He said he did not believe there were any climate change deniers in council, but there would be some "interesting debate".
When asked what the word "emergency" meant, he replied it wasn't about instilling fear but instigating change - "in all other councils that have declared one there has not been an outbreak of panic."
He had previously said a meeting with other ES councillors had shown them to be unsupportive - "My efforts to encourage them to recognise global trends and the awareness other New Zealand councils have shown by voting to make the declaration have fallen on deaf ears."
Chairman Nicol Horrell said he believed "actually doing stuff is better than declaring an emergency", but the debate and discussion was healthy.
"It's a council decision and any decision will be made by majority council vote."