Close to three million Australians are living in a declared "climate emergency", as more local councils take a stand and demand urgent action.
But the federal environment minister thinks councils should stick to collecting the bins.
About five per cent, or 28, of the nation's 537 local councils have called for urgent climate action, with some planning to move their chambers to 100 per cent renewable energy.
The Australian councils are part of 800 across the globe to have declared climate emergencies, encompassing more than 140 million people worldwide.
The tally is being tracked by Climate Emergency Mobilisation, an advocacy group based in Australia.
Victoria's Darebin City Council was the first to take the leap in 2016.
Darebin has taken a steering role among other local administrations, leading a national climate emergency conference last year.
The most recent Australian summer was the hottest in recorded history, with fruit cooking on trees while bushfires and floods crippled local communities.
The council group includes the ACT government, which has pledged to prioritise emission reductions in its decision-making.
The Sydney and Hobart city councils have also made the call.
Some councils are aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy and zero net emissions, with others instead pledging to lobby state and federal politicians on climate change action.
South Australia's Gawler Town Council is preparing community action plans for extreme weather events, including providing safe shelters for the homeless in heatwaves.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley did not say if she would declare such an emergency, but she thinks local councils should focus on dealing with local environmental issues, such as household rubbish.
"I think ratepayers would expect to see their councils leading practical action on local environmental issues and focusing on things they can address locally," Ms Ley told AAP.
"Local government plays an important environmental role managing waste and recycling, and in maintaining local areas. I think that is what local communities would most like to see from their councils."
The minister said the government had been clear about the need to tackle climate change, with its $3.5 billion climate solutions plan and $100 million for environmental restoration.
But the Australian Greens believe the government must go a step further.
"Australia needs to follow the lead of other governments here and abroad by declaring a climate emergency," Melbourne MP Adam Bandt told AAP.
"The Greens are working with other MPs to get federal parliament to take this significant step."