FARMERS are circulating an open letter calling on the Liberal Party to kill off an internal push to derail Australia making meaningful commitments at the upcoming Paris climate talks.
The letter, which describes farmers as being "on the front line of rising temperatures and more extreme weather", urges the Liberals to resoundingly defeat a climate sceptic motion to be debated at its federal council meeting on Saturday.
Party members and elected officials will consider the motion that a committee of Parliament should "examine the evidence" around climate change before agreeing to any post-2020 emissions cuts.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt is likely to be forced to fight off the push at the meeting in Melbourne, putting him at odds with some of his parliamentary colleagues from Western Australia.
WA Liberals Dennis Jensen and Chris Back are backing the call by the party's federal regional and rural committee for a review of the evidence "underpinning the man-made global warming theory".
Current NSW farmer of the year Derek Blomfield is one who has put his name to the letter, saying the science was already in on climate change.
"As a farmer, I find it really disappointing that this is coming from farmers, especially those in WA who are in line for the worst effects of climate change. I can't make sense of their actions," he said.
"I'm not a scientist but I'm pretty sure Brian Mayfield [chairman of the Liberal Party committee pushing the motion] isn't a scientist either. How many times do we have to go back to the science? Is it until they get the result they want?
"Extreme weather events are a real issue for us in the farming community and we want a strong deal in Paris."
Mr Blomfield and his wife Kirrily manage a 980-hectare property near Quirindi on the Liverpool Plains where they raise 500 grass-fed beef cattle on perennial pastures that are regenerated to optimise soil, grass and biodiversity
They produce steers and heifers that are slaughtered, butchered, boxed and sold direct to consumers under their brand 'The Conscious Farmer'.
When former NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson, a National Party member, announced the couple as 2014 farmer's of the year she congratulated them on "tapping into the latest science".
The open letter calls for Australia to adopt post-2020 targets that will cut carbon emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2025, and at least 60 per cent by 2030 over 2000 pollution levels, in line with recommendations of the scientific community.
Fairfax Media revealed this week that Mr Hunt and Prime Minister Tony Abbott are considering proposing a target of 24 to 28 per cent by 2030 - but that is based on 2005 levels. Compared to 2000 levels the range would be more like 13 to 19 per cent.
Some figures from the Liberal Party's moderate faction have been incensed at the climate sceptic push, comparing it to a similar campaign that fomented in WA in 2009 as then Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull negotiated with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ahead of the crunch Copenhagen summit.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who was part of the WA dissenters in 2009, declined to criticise the motion on Thursday. "Let's see what is decided after the discussion's been had," he said.
Greens deputy leader Larissa Waters said: "I am utterly floored that in this day and age the Liberal Party is actually going to debate at their national conference whether climate change is real.
"We might have a debate in Parliament today earth is really round or flat and that would be the equivalent sort of debate."
Senator Waters said Liberal climate sceptics were being "driven by the fossil fuels industry". "A sector which makes generous donations to this party," she said.
Gerry Leach, a member of the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) resource management committee, said there was a divergence of views on climate change in the farming sector.
The NFF's position is that science should be used to mitigate emissions intensity while increasing food production, he said.