BENDIGO lacks the data to properly drive down greenhouse gasses as it prepares for a make-or-break decade in climate action.
Yet that could be about to change, with a group of 15 Bendigo-based businesses and other organisations planning to emulate Hepburn Shire's recent map of emissions.
That document - compiled by the shire's council - gives a detailed roadmap to drive emissions to zero.
It comes amid a belief Bendigo could be left behind without grassroots action, group member Ian McBurney said.
"I would love to see a climate change discussion about what the future will be like," he said.
"The entire media/political narrative over the past decade has been a narrow, backwards looking fantasy about the cost of climate action."
The group wants to look at what is possible and is preparing to unveil its strategy later this year, which could become part of sweeping changes to the region's economy, Mr McBurney said.
"We should be having conversations about what the economy is going to look like once renewable energy, the internet and electric-transport is combined," he said, citing ideas by climate author Jeremy Rifkin.
"Every industrial revolution has been new forms of energy, communication and transport coming together," he said.
"This is a brand new one and it is going to change a lot."
The Bendigo group might also push to establish "baseline" data to help it track progress, Mr McBurney said.
It comes five months after two groups published carbon emissions data for every Australian local government area.
The free online snapshots developed by Beyond Zero Emissions and Ironbark Sustainability are intended to help councils and community groups hone their priorities.
"It's pretty well-known - and well-excepted - that councils have been leading the way when it comes to Australian climate action, given the challenges we've had at other levels of government," Ironbark Sustainability's business manager Alexi Lynch said.
"One of the challenges over the past decade has been getting information on where emissions are really coming from in any given municipality."
The new carbon data shows the greatest share of Bendigo's emissions is electricity use and comes in at 54.7 per cent, half of which is used for industrial energy. The second biggest emitter is transport on 26.29 per cent.
Mr McBurney said his group would have a wide remit to focus on driving down carbon use with land use, food waste and refrigerants, as well as through wider power grids.
The City of Greater Bendigo wants to get to zero emissions by 2026 and other big groups in town, including La Trobe University, have made similar pledges by 2030.
The clock is ticking in every part of Australia, Mr Lynch said.
"If you really want to be in line with the science, we need to get to zero as soon as possible," he said.
"This is the crucial decade."