Must be all those bushfires

Australia welcomes Obama's commitment to capping carbon

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.

The Australian