World leaders are gathering in Glasgow, Scotland, for what is set to be a generational shift in international climate policy at the end of this month.
Known as COP26, it’s a gathering of UN countries, policy leaders, and activists like Greta Thunberg to discuss action on climate change and commit to further emissions reductions, hopefully in line with scientific timelines.
However, our own Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has publically toyed with the idea of not attending this important international meeting, claiming that he’ll be needed at home to steer Australia through the last stages of the pandemic. A convenient time to start acting like a leader, if you ask us.
So, as the rest of the world gathers, Australia may not have a presence at this important meeting.
That is except for the fact that Aussie comedian Dan Ilic has decided to frontline Australia’s climate change policies in Glasgow by crowdfunding a series of satirical billboards to run during the conference.
Created by up-and-coming Brisbane artist James Hillier, the billboards feature a burning kangaroo with the tagline “Australia: Net Zero by 2300” and a mock tourism poster offering the opportunity to cuddle a koala “before we make them extinct”
Ilic outlines Australia’s approach and position at these conferences as “famous for cheating, lying and giving fake commitments.”
“We managed to even get a clause written into the very first climate treaty in Kyoto known as ‘the Australia clause’, which basically allowed Australia to count its emissions on a completely made up, bullshit metric that no other country uses.”
— Dan Ilic 🔣 (@danilic) September 26, 2021
He notes that the Australian government is about to embark on a huge PR campaign to highlight their non-existent climate achievements in the run-up to the election as they realise that climate change is arguably the biggest issue for voters.
In order to counter this, Ilic has begun placing these billboards across the UK using funds from his crowdsourcing campaign that has now attracted almost $150,000 donations.
Now the billboards will also be displayed in possibly the world’s most famous advertising space, Times Square in New York City.
Times Square’s biggest billboard, known as “Godzilla”, will display Ilic’s satirical messages criticising Australia for ten minutes this week.
Ilic said he came up with the idea for the campaign while watching the Australian government respond to the pandemic with a “gas-fired recovery”.
“All these people decided the best way to beat COVID was to build a gas pipeline,” Ilic said.
“I think that was the moment where I said, ‘Hold on, maybe this government doesn’t give a fuck about us at all?’ Australians want to be proud of our position in the world and this government gives us no reason to be.”
While the campaign was initially going to be contained to Glasgow, the fundraiser reached its target in two and a half hours, prompting Ilic to come up with various other ways of sending up the government.
These include billboards around Australia, an Australian government-themed expansion pack for the game Cards Against Humanity, and 100 brass plaques to be distributed around Australia and Hawaii that read “During a National Crisis — Prime Minister of Australia Stood Upon This Spot And Did Nothing.”