After briefly popping his head out of the sand, John Howard firmly stuck it back in again by denying that emission targets need to be set.
However, the CSIRO has advised that emission targets are both 'advisable and affordable' undercutting his position completely. Obviously, he hasn't stacked the government departments with ideologues as efficiently as GWB.
As the Federal Government yesterday intensified its attacks on "crazy" pledges from Labor and the Greens to reduce Australia's emissions by 60 to 80 per cent by 2050, it emerged that the CSIRO had told Mr Howard's emissions trading task group last month that most studies agreed developed countries needed to cut emissions by 60 to 90 per cent to avoid "dangerous" climate change.Tim Flannery, Australian of the Year (his acceptance speech in front of John Howard was one of the highlights of the year!) also weighed in:
As one of the 'per capita' leaders in greenhouse gas emissions, Australia should be taking a lead in setting targets. Surely, investing in technology to clean up the power stations' emissions (they mainly burn the worst possible soft brown coal, would be a start.
"A couple of years ago there used to be four countries that hadn't ratified Kyoto," Professor Flannery said. "There was Australia, the USA, Monaco and Liechtenstein. I'm afraid to say that Monaco and Liechtenstein have seen the light, so there's only two of us left now — the Bonnie and Clyde of climate change, as Al Gore calls us.
"I don't know what this means for me, or the office of Australian of the Year — whether it's better for me to give back the award, and say that it's simply impossible to continue as things are," he said.
He later told The Age he was only speaking hypothetically and had no plans to give up his honorary title.