Misha Ketchell writes:


There’s a whole lotta love going
around for the Prime Minister on his international tour. Hot on the heels
of reports about the intense bond between John Howard and George Bush,
this
morning the media is full of reports of the intense bond between John
Howard and Canada’s baby PM Stephen Harper.

But there is some politics going on too: it’s called the Asia
Pacific Partnership on Clean Development
and Climate, the group set up by the US in what’s been seen by many as
a shameless attempt to undermine Kyoto. The US started the
partnership. Australia’s in it. So is Japan, China, South Korea and
India.
Canada isn’t, but we’d sure like them to be, according this report on the ABC’s The World Today:

ELEANOR HALL: Later today, John Howard will fly to Canada to meet that
country’s new conservative leader, who seems set to become a new ally
on climate change.

John Howard is expected to talk to his
counterpart, Stephen Harper, about Canada joining the Coalition of the
unwilling on Kyoto, the newly-created climate change group, the Asia
Pacific Partnership.

Canada is a signatory to the Kyoto agreement, but it’s 35% over its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

But
the Environment Minister of Australia, Ian Campbell, denies that
this country is trying to play a spoiling role on Kyoto by recruiting
new nations for the Asia Pacific pact.

IAN CAMPBELL: We do
welcome the concept of broadening the membership. Quite clearly Canada
would be a good fit, but the message we get loud and clear from Canada
is that they’re very focused on their domestic policy, their so-called
Made in Canada greenhouse policies in the medium or short to medium
term.

I think that discussions about broadening the membership
are not premature at this stage and I think Canada is someone we should
be talking to.

So is Howard in Canada lobbying? Perhaps. But as ABC radio foreign affairs correspondent Graeme Dobell writes in the latest Griffith Review, when
it comes to climate change politics nothing is what it seems: “When
looking at Australia’s climate-change policy, the problem is not so
much locating the beef, but reconciling the contradictions. Laying out
the call and counter-call of Australian policy produces a strange maze.”