A decade of conflict over whether to take climate change seriously in Australia is coming down to a single issue: whether the Turnbull government will be allowed to prevent future governments from adopting more realistic targets for Australia's emissions by embedding Tony Abbott's token emissions reduction targets in the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) mechanism. If successful, the ploy will make it extraordinarily difficult for any future government to adopt the kind of targets required by a genuine international effort to combat climate change.

That the government's target of 26-28% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 is hopelessly inadequate is clear from two things: that arch-denialist Tony Abbott was happy to endorse them as prime minister, and that they are barely half of the targets recommended by the Climate Change Authority (before Abbott abolished it), of 45-65%.