An Australian comedian and satirist is using giant electronic billboards to raise concerns about his government's plans to tackle the climate crisis. Dan Ilic is bringing the message to the streets before and during the Glasgow COP26 conference, which will run from October 31–November 12, 2021. The conference is the largest annual international gathering on environmental issues.
Dan explained his intention in this video:
The crowd-funded campaign kicked off in New York's Times Square on October 15. Clean energy news and analysis website, Renew Energy, reported:
The Morrison government’s lacklustre climate policies have been advertised to the world, in perhaps the most prominent location in the world, with billboards labelling Scott Morrison “Coal-o-phile Dundee” playing in New York City’s Times Square.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had received months of criticism, both in Australia and abroad, for his failure to produce an ambitious carbon emissions reduction plan. Recently, he had also been reluctant to commit to attending Glasgow. He was conducting negotiations with his junior coalition partner, the Nationals, over a net-zero emissions target for 2050. He has since confirmed his attendance and reached a backroom deal on the target. The plan was announced just a few days before the conference.
The plan relies heavily on new and emerging technologies such as green hydrogen, low-cost solar, energy storage, and industries such as low emissions steel and aluminum. The existing target of 26–28 percent reductions from 2005–2030 has not been increased. However, the government projects reductions should be 30–35 percent. There will also be incentives and offsets to help reach net zero emissions by 2050.
However, the coalition LNP (Liberal National parties) plan may not be that popular at Glasgow or at home:
Ladies and Gentlemen. I give you #ScottyFromMarketing and the LNP response to the greatest threat to the planet of our time. A brochure.
Please be upstanding #auspol pic.twitter.com/mdkuzzOyZf
— Revardin (@revardin) October 26, 2021
Our PM is an absolute con-artist. ?
Australia commits to 2050 net zero emissions plan but with no detail and no modelling https://t.co/8UHdpbMpJl
— Fully-Pfized (@StaceyCeeJay) October 26, 2021
Dan's COP26 billboards
Over 200,000 Australian dollars (150,000 US dollars) has been raised for Dan's #JokeKeeper fund to help sponsor the billboards. The fund is a play on words mocking the Australian government's COVID-19 JobKeeper payments to businesses.
Broadcaster Nick Bryant, a former BBC journalist and now a resident of Australia, tweeted one view from the international media. The comment thread echoes its sentiments:
“Australia will be the rich world’s weakest link at COP26” #COP26 pic.twitter.com/JFjtw6AvK7
— Nick Bryant (@NickBryantNY) October 27, 2021
The Times Square ads were very popular with online audiences:
They are laughing at us in Times Square, as they should be: our response to climate change is the biggest joke on earth. pic.twitter.com/eUs6hopgSz
— Belinda Barnet (@manjusrii) October 15, 2021
Actor Russell Crowe was impressed with by billboards:
They seek him there they seek him here @danilic @ARationalFear strike again !
Times Square NYC
* don’t know the fella in the video but kudos to him for capturing the footage. pic.twitter.com/jeVzLGLeWk
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) October 15, 2021
On top of this endorsement, Crowe contacted Jake Tapper at CNN to help arrange this interview:
Worth watching. @danilic hittin’ ‘em out of the park on CNN. https://t.co/VdhCsh9pPB
— ? Peter FitzSimons? (@Peter_Fitz) October 16, 2021
Dan has been experimenting with possible billboard renditions he will install on the route to and from the Glasgow airport:
Apparently, there has already been some censorship of the billboards:
Uh oh one of our Glasgow Billboards has been banned — this one designed by a major #JokeKeepr donor. pic.twitter.com/MJHCl2yHKF
— Dan Ilic ? (@danilic) October 25, 2021
Dan's flagship podcast is A Rational Fear, where you can follow the billboard project and his continuing coverage of the climate crisis debate down under.