PM, Obama focus on security, not climate

US President Barack Obama and Tony Abbott have shaken off their differences over climate change to present a united front on security concerns in Ukraine and north Asia.

The two leaders were due to meet at the White House overnight where they were expected to largely keep talks to matters of "mutual interest", including strengthening trade ties and Australia's chairing of the G20 meeting in Brisbane this year.

Defence and security issues were expected to dominate the discussions.

Vice-President Joe Biden was expected to sit in on the meeting.

The Prime Minister, who in Opposition was repeatedly unflattering of Mr Obama, had a Sydney-made Malibu surf board to present to the President.

But well before their meeting, Mr Abbott made plain he was not interested in Mr Obama's new push to seek a global consensus on climate change.

The Prime Minister and the President at the White House.

The PM echoed the scepticism expressed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week about the US taking serious action on its emissions. "I am not going to take action on climate change which clobbers our economy," Mr Abbott said.

"And I don't expect that any other country, whatever they might say, will take action on climate change that will clobber their economy and cost jobs."

He said that if the US were to match the scale of the coalition's $2.5 billion direct action policy, it would have $40 billion to spend on reducing emissions.

The West Australian

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