The coalition includes 260 global sub governments (ie: states and territories from other nations) that represent 50% of the global economy and nearly two billion people.
The coalition creates a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between sub-governments around the world to reduce greenhouse emissions keep the rise in temperature below 2°C.
The move utilises the new ‘Foreign Relations (States and Territories) Act 2020’, which empowers the federal government to veto state involvement in international matters.
Recently, members of the federal government have been quick to criticise states over their pandemic powers, particularly Victoria.
In a stunning ‘pot calling the kettle black’ moment, the situation has now seemingly been reversed as the feds rush to assert authority.
NSW, NT, ACT, SA have also submitted applications to be part of the agreement but are expected to suffer a similar fate to VIC and QLD and have their applications withdrawn.
The Victorian government’s energy, environment and climate change minister Lily D’Ambrosio didn’t mince her words when she spoke to Guardian Australia.
She described the manner in which the feds forced Victoria out of the agreement as “just a really ridiculous technicality.
“It’s egregious. They are vandals.
“This is going to be a global embarrassment, not for the Victorian Government but the Federal Government that has already covered itself in ridicule on the climate change stage.”
D’Ambrosio’s point regarding the global embarrassment factor manifested recently as a set of billboards was erected at the Glasgow Climate conference.
The project, organised by political comedian Dan Ilic crowdfunded $40k and featured a variety of designs, with one billboard reading: “Australia: Net Zero by 2300!”.
Although comical in tone, the billboards were grounded in a startling truth about Australia’s climate complacency.
Earlier in the month, we were ranked last out of 60 countries in the 2022 Climate Change Performance Index by the German advocacy group, Germanwatch.
The Australia Institute’s Polly Hemming remarked on the importance of state action in combatting climate change, especially when faced with a hostile government.
As an example, Hemming cited California’s emission targets during the Trump era. The US state set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas output to 40% below the levels it was in the year 1990, by as soon as 2030.
With the power of the Australian states and territories on full display during the pandemic, this move by the government could hint at an urge to reassert political influence in the lead-up to the 2022 federal election.