Philanthropist Dr Andrew Forrest AO took time out from a global lecture tour to attend a roundtable on climate change at ANU last week.
Dr Forrest, who has spoken on the tour at top universities in the Netherlands, United States and United Kingdom on business and government's accountability for and responsibility to reduce global warming, had a blunt assessment of where the blame for climate change lies.
"It is not the public's fault. It's my fault," he said.
"You have the right to drive your kids to school".
At the meeting, hosted by the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions and attended by almost 20 experts from across the campus, Dr Forrest, the non-executive chairman of Fortescue Metals, argued he is one of "not more than a thousand" individuals to whom the public should look for action.
He predicted an "ugly" summer ahead and, without action, a future of "lethal humidity", which he had warned world leaders would cause mass migration and geopolitical breakdowns.
Dr Forrest also detailed work Fortescue had done to transition to renewable energy across its operations, moving away from using fossil fuels, urging the public to "look hard" at the companies that were failing to follow suit.
"Hold the other thousand odd people to account like I wish to be held to account by you," he said.