The Coalition Brigade is gathering, preparing for a final march to a location that was once considered enemy territory and toxic ground too dangerous to reach.
Josh Frydenberg waved the flag on Friday. National leader Barnaby Joyce, an appointed official, is reluctantly falling (kind of) in step. Angus Taylor will buy the expected shoes.
General Scott Morrison will announce the arrival. But not until the details of a deal, heavy with technology and trade-offs and payments, are landed with Joyce.
The prime minister wants – “needs” would be a better word – Australia to support the 2050 net zero emissions target at the November Glasgow climate conference.
No if or but or qualify. Net zero by 2050 need not be “preferably” as the government has been doing.
Morrison and Joyce go into detail about this inevitability, as travel without civilians – which seems too short to outsiders but too daunting to combine – cannot be fulfilled.
Frydenberg sent a blunt message on Friday that if Australia does not live up to the world’s expectations on climate policy, it will have trouble getting enough capital from abroad and at the cheapest cost.
Read more: Net-zero, carbon-neutral, carbon-negative… Confused by all the carbon jargon? so read this
The treasurer’s speech focused on finance rather than the environment. He pushed for a firm goal so as to appeal to the tough economic standpoint. It is the market (not the greenery) that we need to do this, was the message.
Frydenberg is battle-hardened for the task. As Minister of Energy, he was a lieutenant to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the time when he ran the standard for the National Energy Guarantee, the NEG.
He succumbs to an ambush by a group of rebel soldiers, mortally injuring Turnbull. Morrison has better armor; Anyway, Liberal skeptics are no longer heard from nowadays. The noise comes from civilians.
Read more: Scott Morrison embraces net-zero emissions – it’s time to talk
On Friday morning, Joyce worked her way up on ABC Radio. His skepticism was clear, as he pointed to the rise in electricity prices in Britain and the collapse of energy companies.
But that important central line came through. Asked, “Do you support Net Zero by 2050?” He replied, “I have no problem with any plan that doesn’t hurt regional areas”.
He later added: “Now, when people say do you support it and they don’t tell you how they’re going to do it, they’re opening themselves up. […] a crisis they are experiencing in Europe, just as they are experiencing in the UK”.
Joyce will have problems with some of his followers, especially his one-time employee, now Senator, Matt Canavan, who can remind his leader how he trashed the target not long ago.
But they will get a lot of loot for the countrymen in the final package. It seems that even Frydenberg has stopped worrying about the appallingly high cost of political life these days.
In Washington, Morrison was asked whether the government had decided on net zero.
“No, if Australia had taken that decision, I would have announced it,” he said. “Australia has not made a final decision on that matter … we will consider further when I return to Australia that we think can help us achieve our ambition in this area.”
Read more: Yes, it is entirely possible for Australia to phase out thermal coal within a decade
While the military floor looks clear, there is still work to be done, and citizens say the actual map has not yet been laid on the table.
But if anything derails the campaign now, it will be a blow to everyone – including Morrison, and no doubt Joe Biden and Boris Johnson.
Morrison would be left in an unbearable position for Glasgow. Frydenberg notes that 129 countries have committed to the 2050 goal.
The PM will also face trouble in the elections, especially in the green areas of the city as climate is an issue and independent candidates are preparing to contest in various seats.
Adopting a 2050 target is a minimum requirement for a country’s Glasgow policy, but the United States, Britain and other climate pioneers are focusing on countries being more ambitious in the medium term.
What Morrison and Joyce do about it will soon become the big question.