A motion introduced by the Greens which asked the state parliament to declare a climate emergency passed the lower house after being amended "beyond recognition."
Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said what the parliament ended up voting through reads more like a shopping list of the government's stated actions on climate change.
"The government didn't want to declare a climate emergency. Interestingly, the Parliaments of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Australian Capital Territory and 528 councils around the world have acknowledged we are in a climate emergency," Ms O'Connor said.
Ms O'Connor told the Parliament it gave her no joy at all to read out the motion.
"What the Greens are asking Parliament to do is simply acknowledge the truth, and the truth is the world is in a state of climate emergency," Ms O'Connor said.
Ms O'Connor said politics won, and the Labor and Liberal parties couldn't bring themselves to acknowledge the truth.
"We failed this time, but we will be back," she said.
The motion was heavily amended by Environment Minister Elise Archer, including the removal of the word "emergency" because it was too emotive.
Speaker Sue Hickey cast the deciding vote which passed Ms Archer's amendments.
Ms Hickey defended her choice stating she believed governments must be careful not to create unnecessary fear, panic and alarm.
"This approach only plays into the hands of the climate sceptics," Ms Hickey said.