Billboard satire blasts Australian government's tepid climate change stance for Glasgow COP26

Coal-o-Phile Dundee

Coal-o-Phile Dundee. A Screenshot of the Guardian's video October 15, 2021

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:

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:

The Times Square ads were very popular with online audiences:

Actor Russell Crowe was impressed with by billboards:

On top of this endorsement, Crowe contacted Jake Tapper at CNN to help arrange this interview:

Dan has been experimenting with possible billboard renditions he will install on the route to and from the Glasgow airport:

Australia Net Zero

Australia Net Zero – image with permission from @DanIlic

Apparently, there has already been some censorship of the billboards:

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.

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