The government's adversarial response to this week's call by the UN for it to phase out coal by 2030, and revelations it pressured the UK to delink temperature targets from a free-trade agreement, are not a good look ahead of the Glasgow climate summit.
On Monday the UN special adviser on climate change, Selwin Hart, told the ANU's Crawford Leadership Forum the Australian government needed to adopt more ambitious emissions-reduction goals.
He also reiterated the need for all OECD countries, including Australia, to stop using coal by 2030.
"If adopted, this timetable would leave nearly a decade for Australia to ensure a just transition for its coal miners and others affected," he said.
Mr Hart noted Australia was becoming increasingly isolated from much of the rest of the world by its failure to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, and urged the government to make this pledge "as a matter of urgency".
Instead of, as one would have expected, taking the comments under consideration, Resources Minister Keith Pitt came out swinging.
Noting that in the three months to July Australian coal exports had grown in value by 26 per cent to $12.5 billion, Mr Pitt said: "The future of this crucial industry will be decided by the Australian government, not a foreign body that wants to shut it down costing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for our economy.
"The reports of coal's impending death are greatly exaggerated and its future is well assured beyond 2030."
While this may win some votes in coal mining electorates it is completely out of step with what global heating experts are saying and with what a majority of Australian voters in every one of the 151 federal electorates believes.
Less than a fortnight ago a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation revealed strong support for more government action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in every electorate, including those held by Mr Pitt's Nationals.
A clear majority of voters in all 16 electorates held by the party said climate change action would be either "the most important issue" or "an important issue" in determining their vote at the next poll. A majority also wanted the government "to do much more" or "to do more" to combat climate change.
While there have been suggestions that the Prime Minister is working hard behind the scenes to win the junior Coalition partner over to an acceptance of net-zero by 2050 ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, due to begin on October 31, Mr Pitt's remarks suggest that he, for one, is not for turning.
That is also true of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who successfully rolled Michael McCormack because the latter was seen as too close to Mr Morrison's position on 2050, and for the rump of self-avowed climate change deniers in both parties.
The refusal by this small group of conservative MPs to accept that a global emergency trumps partisan politics every time will likely result in Australia being treated as a pariah state in Glasgow.
But, far worse than that, this aversion to even recognising the crisis - which saw climate targets deleted from the UK trade agreement - amplifies the existential threat to humanity and civilisation that climate change represents.
With global warming already spawning an ever increasing number of super storms, "black summers", rising sea levels and other catastrophes, the time to act is running out.
Coal and the other fossil fuels have had their day. It makes sense to phase them out sooner rather later to maximise the global benefit. If not by 2030, then by when?
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