A truly golden moment in politics beckons; a moment that would just about sum up the more than decade-long absurdity of Australia’s climate war.
It will be when arch conservative carbon crusader Tony Abbott sits alongside Greens MP Adam Bandt to vote against the National Energy Guarantee.
Mr Abbott, the former Liberal prime minister, would be voting against the NEG as part of his declared war on what he calls environmental theology.
And Mr Bandt, the member for the hipster inner-city seat of Melbourne, would be voting against the NEG because it is not environmentally theological enough.
As it stands, the Turnbull Government wouldn’t mind having this moment in prospect, notwithstanding its obvious peculiarity, because if it gets this far, the NEG will very likely live with the assent or acquiescence of the Labor Party.
A vote on the NEG in the House of Representatives would also mean it has successfully navigated state and territory energy ministers, as well as the Coalition partyroom.
This is not yet assured, because of the perennial entwinement of climate policy with toxic politics.
Federal Labor, which would get no strategic advantage from the NEG’s failure, seems content enough to wave the NEG through, albeit extracting Coalition discomfort along the way.
But Victorian Labor, which faces electoral reckoning in November, appears paranoid about alienating Greens-leaning voters by agreeing to a policy conceived by the conservatives.
The Greens are itching to condemn the NEG in Parliament for its lack of ambition, just as they did to Labor’s offering a decade ago.
But if anyone thinks passage of the NEG will be the end of the climate war, they’d be forgetting the history of this conflict.
Will this be the victorious three-letter-acronym?
It’s been a war fuelled by an acronymic arsenal.
It started in 2006, when reluctant climate convert John Howard proposed an ETS (emissions trading scheme).
Kevin Rudd came up with a CPRS (carbon pollution reduction scheme), then we had Julia Gillard’s carbon tax, Tony Abbott’s Direct Action and Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s CET (Clean Energy Target).
Along the way there has been suggestions of an EIS (emissions intensity scheme).
If the NEG proves to be the longest-lived acronym in this sordid affair, it will not be because of its design, ambition or excellence.
No, if the NEG lives longer than the rest, it will be because of fatigue.
The public tolerance for any more politicking on climate policy has faded from the middle.
Politicking on climate policy is now found in the extremes, on the left and on the right. The rest are either exhausted by the argument, infuriated by their power bills, or both.
Federal Labor has recognised this fatigue and knows it’s unlikely to benefit from being contrary on the NEG. The Coalition is relying on fatigue to see its policy through.
But the battle rages on for those who see climate politics as a reason to fight.
Which, for wonderfully different reasons, is why Abbott and Bandt may yet sit together united against the NEG.