Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, last seen on TV doing an impressive if emotional job handling the aftermath of his country’s deadly bushfires, may have just received a little political help from Washington. Rudd’s Labor Party government, lately criticized for moving too fast on the climate-change file despite the world’s faltering economy, will likely feel vindicated by Obama’s call last night for a market-based cap on carbon. Rudd favours an emissions-trading regime, but some at home worried recent musings by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu indicated Washington might prefer a carbon tax. Obama’s request during his address to a joint session of congress that the lawmakers cough up carbon-cap legislation means Australia should now feel safer. All this just reinforces how different Canada and Australia have become since PM Stephen Harper’s friend, the right-of-centre former Australian PM John Howard, was replaced two years ago. Australia appears prepared for how the U.S. deals with climate change—Canada a little less so.