Opposition leader Alistair Coe has slammed the government's plan to encourage Canberrans to make the switch to electric cars and household appliances, labeling it "very arrogant".
But Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury has hit back, claiming Mr Coe has been "willfully misleading the public" about key measures in the plan - including an alleged ban on cars.
The government and opposition traded barbs on Tuesday following the release of a strategy to help the ACT reach a target of net zero emissions by 2045.
The 98-point climate action strategy seeks to encourage people to ditch their petrol-powered cars in favour of walking, cycling, catching public transport or driving an electric vehicle.
It proposed holding car free days in parts of Canberra at least one day each year, offering a glimpse of the "kind of city that emerges when cars are de-prioritised".
Proposals to link car registration fees to vehicle usage and setting aside a percentage of roads for "sustainable transport" were also put forward in the action plan.
The strategy also sets out plans to phase out gas usage, with households, schools, government buildings and health facilities all due to be powered by electricity by 2045.
The government has conceded much of the strategy would require behavioral change from Canberrans, although it believes that many will choose to make the shift to electric cars and appliances themselves.
It has proposed a range of measures to smooth the transition for low-income earners, including a pledge to fit all public housing units with electrical appliances.
But Mr Coe claimed the strategy effectively told Canberrans that it was "wrong to use your car ... wrong to live in the outer suburbs and wrong to have gas heating".
"It is very clear that the government does not understand what living in Canberra is all about," Mr Coe said.
"It's very clear that they don't understand that Canberrans do need their cars, they do need gas heating, they do need to find a park.
"The government's strategy is ignorant of all of these facts and because of that I think many Canberrans will do it tough."
Mr Coe said the ACT already did "a lot of the heavy lifting" in tackling climate change, arguing it was unreasonable that Canberrans be asked to do more just so the Barr government could reach its "ideological targets".
He supported cutting emissions, although he could not detail how his party would do that, aside from vague references to advancements in electric car technology and other "innovation".
"The reasonable way to achieve any emissions reduction is not to wave a big stick around and to ban people from using their cars and heating their homes," he said.
Mr Rattenbury said the nature of Mr Coe's complaints suggested that he hadn't read the strategy.
"It [the strategy] is really cognisant of the need to protect the most vulnerable in our community as we work through these complex issues," he said.
Mr Rattenbury said Mr Coe and the Canberra Liberals had been "misrepresenting" the strategy since its release, pointing to social media commentary which claimed the government wanted to ban cars.
"That [car ban] does not exist in the strategy, it is simply not in the strategy," he said.
"For the Canberra Liberals to go and so willfully mislead the public reflects very poorly on them.
"We need to have a proper discussion about this [strategy], not play to the hysteria."