US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has praised Australia for “leading the way” on climate change, and our 38 active coal mines in New South Wales alone say g’day.

This week, Pelosi and Prime Minister Scott Morrison met at Washington, where the man who is, unfortunately, leading our country mentioned the importance of “meeting and beating” climate targets. Side note: that’s a wee bit easier to do when you plan to reach net carbon emission 20 or so years after the rest of the world.

Anyway, Pelosi told reporters during a climate briefing this week that Australia is, allegedly, “leading the way” on climate. Huh?

“The Prime Minister of Australia, Morrison, he was saying, ‘We’re not only addressing the Paris Accords – our slogan is we meet it and we beat it’,” she said, per the Sydney Morning Herald’s Washington correspondent Matthew Knott.

“So they’re leading the way and that’s what we all have to do.”

Did Pelosi confuse jokes with facts here because we are absolutely not “leading the way”? I mean, let’s not forget the time Morrison was stuck on mute when addressing the climate summit.

Look, I was gonna give Pelosi full reason of doubt here and say she maybe confused us with Austria, which aims to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2040, but her words really make it sound like she’s been smoking the unhealthy smog generated from our coal mines.

As of the date this article was published, Scott Morrison has yet to announce a concrete date as to when the country will reach net-zero carbon emissions. The government is expected to announce an updated climate policy by mid-October, before the Cop26 Summit in November, but it’s seeming like they’re sticking to 2050.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham doubled down on that today, which Nationals politicians like David Littleproud aren’t happy about. According to government sources via The Guardian, federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor is privately telling colleagues that the government may convince Nationals against the 2050 plan by offering a halfway house.

But, they also seemingly plan to do that by adopting new technologies instead of shutting down the ones that currently are making our planet getting gradually hotter—read: the big old fkn coal mine industry, AKA one of our biggest exports as a nation.

By contrast, the UK is aiming to reach 50% levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2023-2027, which is a 61% decrease, per the federal government’s Climate Change Authority. According to a graph by Visual Capitalist, there are only eight countries that have either already achieved zero carbon emissions or plan to before 2050, and Australia ain’t one of them.

In fact, if the federal government does decide to stick to a 2050 date, we’ll just be one of the *checks notes* 125 countries in the world to do so.

countries net zero goals
A chart of every countries’ net zero emissions goals. Australia is yet to announce their zero emissions target goal but if it goes with 2050, it’ll be just like the rest of the world. (Source: Visual Capitalist).

Earlier this month, a report claimed that Liberal MPs were calling for more school chaplains to ease children’s climate grief and climate anxiety, instead of, y’know, actually addressing the issues. How’s that for “leading the way”?