So the euphoria of a new Australian Prime Minister is short lived. New kid on the block, Kevin Rudd, may have signed up to Kyoto, but has ruled out endorsing proposed new short-term greenhouse gas emission targets of up to 40 per cent by 2020.

Mr Rudd ruled out endorsing a draft proposal from conference organisers for drastic cuts to emission levels of between 25 and 40 per cent over the next 12 years for developed nations. He denied that the meeting would be a failure without an agreement on specific targets.

“National governments have not accepted those across the board as targets for themselves at this stage, nor targets for themselves collectively at this stage so there’s a way to go with all of this. The objective of Bali is to start the process of negotiations for the next couple of years to bring about a real outcome to deal with excessively dangerous climate change.

“Australia has taken its head out of the sand and it now wants to be part of the solution, not just part of the problem.”

Australia may have taken its head out of the sand, but Rudd is in danger of sticking his head somewhere else dark and unpleasant.