The adage goes that politics is show business for ugly people. Well the ugly people in the National Party are threatening the Prime Minister that they will go deeper into themselves over climate change.
Amid internal debate and strenuously rejected accusations of grand standing and stalling, the junior Coalition partner has spent the first three days of the week assessing climate policy and figuring out a party position on net zero by 2050.
Senior Nationals figures deny that a multibillion-dollar regional support package is on the table, but it is clear a deal for the regions is the clincher.
This is despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison already making it clear that the position he will take to COP26 at Glasgow in less than two weeks will be a cabinet decision. To read between the lines: if you don't like the government position determined by cabinet, don't be in cabinet.
That's a serious enough position at the top. But the government is now, according to Labor leader Anthony Albanese, a "rabble without a cause". Labor is zeroing in on Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
"After a decade of ridiculing climate action, they have been mugged by reality and dragged towards net zero by 2050," Albanese told Parliament.
"The Prime Minister is leaving Australia's future in the hands of a man who can't even see as far as the end of a sentence."
The Nationals led by Mr Joyce still aren't there yet. Well, some of them, including cabinet ministers.
Fresh from last week's demanding of respect as the "second party of government", the Nationals' Senate leader, Bridget McKenzie, has joined Nationals senator and strong mining backer Matt Canavan in warning that "it will be ugly" if Mr Morrison adopts a net zero emissions target without the Nationals' approval.
"I think it will be ugly. I think it will be ugly. I do agree. I agree with Senator Canavan - you'll have to check with Barnaby if he doesn't," she told the Senate.
What's ugly? Not outlined, but it was a threat nonetheless.
Later reminded of her government responsibilities, the senator who lost a ministry over the sports rorts affair responded: "I, more than any other, [am] very aware of cabinet standards."
Is this all bluff? A Coalition dance? No business and all show?
Senator McKenzie says the Nationals will not agree to anything that is "not right for the regions", but the parties need each other to stay in power.
If any issue could cause "ugliness" in the Coalition, it is climate change.
The Prime Minister must be armed with something at the UN climate conference. Hot air and a bad reputation won't cut it in Glasgow. A government position will be put to cabinet next week, and Mr Morrison will take it to other world leaders.
The road ahead is about limiting calamitous forecast temperature rises through global action. It is already too late to stop it all.
If we are concerned about government threats between the Coalition, what about climate change itself?
The Climate Council says Australia has a significant amount of catching up to do. Ambition is needed, it notes. It has put Australia behind all 30 other developed nations on climate performance, in a report urging a 75 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
Even a net zero emissions target by 2050 would see Australia's rank mired to the bottom, it warns.
And yet a UN climate report highlights Australia - among many developed countries - is still projected to increase fossil fuel burning by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, rates which would make even the least ambitious Paris Agreement targets unattainable
Yes, it will certainly get "ugly" over net zero.
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