The Loy Yang Power Station.

The Loy Yang Power Station. Photo: Paul Jones

If you are a public servant and passionately disagree with government policies, and you believe it no longer respects the "advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence", then quit.

As the story goes, in the world of Harry Potter, a magical quill records the names of newborn wizards and witches who are destined to study magic.

I've occasionally joked that such a quill exists in Canberra, which records the name of every child born and the government department for which they are destined to work when they reach 21.

The fact the acronym of the agency I ended up being employed by - Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator - was pronounced the same way as Harry Potter's eventual profession (a badass Dark Arts fighting ''Auror''), helped me to perpetuate this idea in my head. I also have a scar on my forehead from a dramatic childhood incident with a postal van. So, I'm basically the lame Australian Public Service version of Harry Potter.

Why am I telling this story of mostly nonsense? There are lessons from the Harry Potter story that passionate public servants should take heed of. They also go some way towards explaining why I choose to stop working for the government after 5½ years.

I have worked in various government roles, all dedicated to the design and implementation of Australia's renewable energy and climate change policies. Under the Rudd-Gillard governments, in power during the vast majority of this period, it was, mostly, an excellent time to be doing the work I was doing.

With the support of the Greens, the government increased the renewable energy target almost five-fold and after several false starts, it eventually succeeded in putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Despite rhetoric from the conservatives, these actions have worked.

Emissions are trending down, the renewable energy's market share has grown considerably and we have one of the strongest economies in the world.

I enjoyed working in the public service, as it felt like I was making a real difference, and I worked with some amazingly intelligent and passionate people.

However, the party couldn't last forever and, inevitably, we had a change of government.

The problem for me, and for climate and energy policy, was this change of leadership was only ever going to be catastrophic for the environment. We went from a government that understood and acknowledged the need to limit Australia's contribution to climate change to one dominated by climate change sceptics.

The new government despises the policies I worked to implement. They have been in power for a little under five months and literally no piece of renewable energy or climate change policy has been left untouched, replaced by tokenistic policies no one in the industry expects will achieve anything other than to provide an easy ticket to industry and the incumbent fossil-fuelled power stations.

The reason this is problematic is the impacts of climate change necessitate government action. Those who are worst impacted by climate change are both least equipped to respond to it and the least responsible for its cause. The impacts of climate change effectively act as a regressive tax imposed by the planet on our severe dependency on fossil fuels.

But Harry Potter provides guidance. What would the wizards and witches in the Ministry of Magic have thought and done when Voldemort revived his quest for power? Did they have their own version of the APS Values or Code of Conduct? Did they instruct officials to remain apolitical and to serve the government/Dark Lord of The Day?

I have always found the strict adherence to the APS Code of Conduct challenging while agreeing that Australians should be able to have confidence that the public service is loyally fulfilling the government's stated agenda.

The problem I foresee is when otherwise intelligent, passionate and opinionated public servants ignore an inherent compatibility between their own values and those of the government, and choose to continue to serve in the public service under what they would otherwise consider a bad government.

It is important to be passionate about what you do for a living. If you don't believe the work is important and fulfilling, find something that is.

Given the impacts of climate change that scientists have been predicting, trying to convince our government to take appropriate action against it is not a bad job to choose. There are countless other causes.

You can avoid the need for a self-inflicted Imperius Curse by seeking to instigate the change you want to see, by doing so outside of the public service.

And that's why I quit.

Michael Mazengarb is an energy market analyst and until last week worked for a federal government agency responsible for major climate change and renewable energy programs.