An Australian comedian and satirist uses giant electronic billboards to voice concerns about his government’s plans to tackle the climate crisis. Dan Ilic takes the message to the streets before and during the COP26 conference in Glasgow, which runs from October 31 to 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 Times Square in New York City on October 15. The clean energy information and analysis website, Renew Energy, reported:
The Morrison government’s lackluster climate policies were announced to the world, perhaps in the most important place in the world, with billboards labeling Scott Morrison “Coal-o-phile Dundee” playing in Times Square in New York City .
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had received months of criticism, both in Australia and abroad, for his failure to produce an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions. Recently, he had also been hesitant to commit to attending Glasgow. He was negotiating with his junior coalition partner, the Nationals, on a net zero emissions target for 2050. He has since confirmed his presence and made a behind-the-scenes deal on the target. The plan was announced just days before the conference.
The plan relies heavily on new and emerging technologies such as green hydrogen, low-cost solar power, energy storage, and industries such as low-emission steel and aluminum. The current target of reductions of 26-28% between 2005 and 2030 has not been increased. However, cuts in government projects are expected to be 30 to 35 percent. There will also be incentives and offsets to help achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
However, the LNP (National Liberal Parties) coalition plan may not be that popular in Glasgow or at home:
Ladies and gentlemen. I give you #ScottyFromMarketing and the LNP’s response to the greatest threat to the planet of our time. A brochure.
Please be honest #auspol pic.twitter.com/mdkuzzOyZf
– Revardin (@revardin) October 26, 2021
Our PM is an absolute con artist. ??
Australia commits to a 2050 net zero emissions plan but without details or modeling 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 funds to help sponsor billboards. The fund is a play on words poking fun at the Australian government’s COVID-19 JobKeeper payments to businesses.
Broadcaster Nick Bryant, former BBC reporter and now Australian resident, tweeted an international media perspective. The comment thread echoes his sentiments:
“Australia will be the weak link in the rich world at COP26” # COP26 pic.twitter.com/JFjtw6AvK7
– Nick Bryant (@NickBryantNY) October 27, 2021
Times Square ads were very popular with online audiences:
They laugh at us in Times Square, as it should: 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 the billboards:
they’re looking for him there they’re looking for him here @danilic @ARationalFear strike again!
Times Square New York
* I don’t know the guy in the video but kudos to him for capturing the footage. pic.twitter.com/jeVzLGLeWk
– Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) October 15, 2021
In addition to that approval, Crowe reached out to CNN’s Jake Tapper to help set up this interview:
Worth watching. @danilic take them out of the park on CNN. https://t.co/VdhCsh9pPB
– Peter FitzSimonsð (@Peter_Fitz) October 16, 2021
Dan was experiment with possible interpretations of display panels that he will install on the journey to and from Glasgow airport:
Apparently, there has already been some censorship of billboards:
Uh oh one of our Glasgow billboards has been banned – this one designed by a major #JokeKeepr giver. pic.twitter.com/MJHCl2yHKF
– Dan Ilic (@danilic) 25 October 2021
Dan’s flagship podcast is A Rational Fear, where you can follow the Billboard Project and its ongoing coverage of the climate crisis debate.