The federal Nationals are looking increasingly isolated, out of touch, and absurd following the NSW government's recent decision to commit to a 50 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030.
This target, which slices years off the timeline Barnaby Joyce and his henchmen find unacceptable, has been solidly backed by the NSW Nationals.
It also brings NSW into line with almost every other jurisdiction in the country.
Tasmania, which has been using hydro-electric power for 126 years, is the leader of the pack, having achieved net-zero emissions on 1990 levels for the past five years. The state's 1990 emissions were slightly higher than the 2005 baseline used by most mainland jurisdictions.
Victoria has a longstanding policy of wanting to reduce emissions by 45 to 50 per cent by 2030, and South Australia, which is committed to a 50 per cent reduction by 2030, is reportedly already more than 50 per cent of the way to achieving net zero by 2050.
Western Australia and the Northern Territory are both committed to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The ACT is committed to a 50 to 60 per cent reduction by 2025, 65 per cent to 75 per cent by 2030, and net zero by 2040. All of these targets are far more ambitious than the federal government's commitment to a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions by 2030 and a "preference" for net zero by 2050. While the PM is hopeful of announcing a firm commitment to net zero by 2050 ahead of the Glasgow summit, his hands are tied by the refusal of the federal Nationals to back such a move.
This recalcitrance, which has led to divisions such as former veterans' affairs minister Darren Chester "taking a break" from party room activities, was bolstered when Barnaby Joyce ousted the far more moderate Michael McCormack in June.
Mr Joyce, who recently said he had no objections to any net-zero plan "that does not leave regional areas hurt", has done little or nothing to pull hard-right climate-deniers and lunatic fringe anti-vaxxers within his party into line.
The agricultural and mining sectors are already strongly committed to cutting greenhouse emissions.
A recent survey showed a majority of voters in every federal electorate in the country - including those held by the Nationals - wanted the government to do much more on climate change. If Mr Joyce, and his hardline rump of MPs who insist on being the tail that wags the dog, genuinely care about the welfare and the livelihoods of regional people, then they should do the same. Time's up.
Australia can no longer afford to be held to ransom by a handful of self-indulgent, and arguably uninformed, individuals, who persist in putting their own interests above those of the nation.
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