Japan says it can't accept a carbon target post Kyoto until the US, China and India are included in the scheme. Note that they didn't mention Australia. We may well be the largest per capita CO2 emitter due to our mining industry but in the grand scheme of things we're nothing. Why don't the Japanese want to do so? Because it will damage their economy. Why are we different to Japan in that regard?
In Australia, the opposition Labor Party wants to go it alone and introduce targets straight away with a goal of 60% reduction against 1990 levels by 2050.
By contrast, the Coalition government intends to introduce a cap and trade scheme but will hold off on setting a target until the world's major nations are on board.
Only one of these plans is responsible and in line with the vast majority of the public's thinking - the government's.
There's no doubt that Labor's economically catastrophic plan will be roundly applauded by our Asian neighbours, which I suppose it would be given they're our competitors and would benefit greatly from Australian industry and jobs moving offshore. Labor seems to think that it's Australia Warming and not Global Warming and that we can do something to affect our own climate without the rest of the world doing anything.
EU efforts to speed action on climate change took a blow on Tuesday when Japan refused to follow the EU line on how to establish a new international regime once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.Even the climate change proselytising Europeans understand that a global scheme can't work without the inclusion of the major emitters.
A statement from EU president Germany, which chaired a gathering of EU and Asian foreign ministers in Hamburg ahead of next week's meeting of Group of Eight (G8) leaders, said talks to establish a new regime should be completed by 2009.
But Japan said it could not accept a 2009 target, saying big polluters such as the United States, China and India should be included before any such target was set.
"Japan cannot agree with this because we should think about how we can invite non-Kyoto members such as the U.S., China and India and others," Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mitsui Sakaba told reporters.
"We should work first for the inclusion of those countries. Fixing the target should come much later."
Germany is leading a drive to persuade the United States to follow Europe's lead on climate change before a June 6-8 summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations.
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the G8 to agree concrete steps that would prepare the ground for an extension of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which commits signatories to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
"We need the Asians as well," said a spokeswoman for EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. "Global warming is something that is global and we need all continents participating in the post-Kyoto plan."
Once again, Labor's position shows that the Left is more concerned with symbolism over results. In this case it's at the cost of Australian jobs and industry - with absolutely no impact on global warming at all. None. Nada. Nil. That doesn't matter, though, as long as they're spending money and feeling good about their intentions the outcome is irrelevant. Welcome to the Left.
The Coalition's position, even if it comes at a cynically late stage in the election cycle, is much more focused on achieving the best result possible without slashing our economic wrists.
Make no mistake about it. This is a hot election issue and Labor's plan to not provide costing to the Australian public before the election is untenable. They will have to come up with a figure before the government does the costing for them, which will put Labor on the back foot and raise the spectre of their history of economic mismanagement - and that would kill Labor's chances completely.