Tuesday, December 04, 2007

# Posted 10:43 AM by Taylor Owen  

WHERE DID THE ALLIANCE GO?: With Howard's loss last week in Australia, Prime Minister Harper has found himself as a somewhat reluctant, and one might say lonely stalwart of the Bush driven Atlantic alliance. Particularly on climate change, but also to some degree on Iraq, (he is in denial of the former and was in favor of the latter), he now stands in notable contrast to both British and Australian governments. With all likelihood, the US will also soon diverge on both.

Lucky for him, the lack of international temptation will probably serve him well at home, as the Canadian public is largely more sympathetic to the new emerging Atlantic consensus. The main question is whether Harper will stick to his principles or buck to popular pressure. For what it's worth, my bet is that his conservatisms runs deep and will not be easily shed despite electoral temptations. Bad news for the Conservative Party, good news for the Liberals.
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I noticed that after dumping Howard, Australia immediately ratified Kyoto.

The ALLIANCE of Welling now become the ALLIANCE of Fleeing
Owen, interesting question. I'm not sure that it makes a lot of sense to read a lot into the "alliance" for multiple reasons-- Howard had been in power for a very long time, and all politicians lose eventually, Rudd has of course been going around assuring the US that the alliance is strong, etc., any more than it makes sense to claim Sarkozy replacing Chirac as obvious demands for a closer French alliance with the US. And, of course, one could note that the British polls are currently showing a remarkable disadvantage for the Labour government and lead for the conservatives. At some point, politics are local-- strange that the polls are still showing Canada's Tories doing well, eh?

I noticed that after dumping Howard, Australia immediately ratified Kyoto.

Although they've also refused to let Peter Garrett talk about the issue in the new Government, taking away Climate Change (and Water) from the new Environment Minister, and refusing to let him answer questions about it in Parliament. And while Australia is ratifying Kyoto, Rudd is also claiming that he's absolutely not for cutting emissions unless China and India go along.

The "new emerging Atlantic consensus," it appears, is to sign Kyoto and then not do anything to actually cut emissions, which doesn't really contrast all that badly with the old one. How exactly has the Bush record on emissions been worse than the European record during the same time period-- or worse than the record under Clinton, for that matter?
Nice post John. I know I'm not the first to point out that when an America friendly politician wins somewhere, the media plays it as a local issues election and when an America unfriendly politician wins somewhere, the media plays it as a repudiation of Bush. Both memes are insulting.

And you're right that Kyoto is empty posturing (as is virtually everything on Global Warming, including a Global Warming conference held in one of the remotest places on earth). No signatory has any intention of meeting its benchmarks (in that sense, Rudd is one of the more honest for admitting his signature means nothing).

Tyler usually does a better job of holding back on the wishful thinking.
From the Australian: Rudd resisting Bali targets.

AUSTRALIA, the US, Japan and Canada are resisting pressure from the UN and developing countries to adopt dramatic targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions as a major split emerges at the Bali conference on climate change.

As business and industry warn of catastrophic economic effects if the ambit claims of 25-40 per cent emission cuts by 2020 are adopted at the conference, Kevin Rudd and his Climate Change Minister Penny Wong have declared Australia will not budge until it knows the full cost of adopting any targets.

Look like the alliance is alive and well, at least as far as Kyoto goes. The Australian government has officially gone from not ratifying Kyoto and not doing anything to ratifying Kyoto and not doing anything. Great.

This is especially since Australia had one of the easiest Kyoto quotas imaginable for a developed, wealthy nation, especially one whose greenhouse emissions per capita exceeds that of the US and Canada, its other low-density large-territory cousins: "She warned that given Australia's Kyoto commitment was 108per cent emissions on 1990 levels, the draft Bali proposal of a 25 to 40 per cent cut [from 1990 levels] would in effect mean a reduction of between 30 and 45 per cent in the eight years to 2020."

The US signed up to a massive cut from 1990 emissions under Kyoto, while the Australians are allowed to INCREASE production by 8%? No wonder Australia's going to make their target or come close despite higher per capita emissions than the US-- and no wonder they resist the Bali follow-on using the 1990 start date for emissions.

The US under Bush has had similar or better greenhouse emissions performance as Canada or Australia, including Canada under the Liberals. Indeed, the US emissions performance has been considerably better under Bush than under Clinton. Of course, he can't really take credit for much of that, as it would have happened anyway-- and yet the EU takes credit for the collapse of inefficient Soviet bloc industry and for the UK finally moving away from dirty coal to North Sea gas (for the latter, at least Thatcher deserves some credit, so a politician's policy did matter.) Clinton can't take too much blame either-- the 1990 start date was a US recession, even if not everywhere else.
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