Prime Minister John Howard chose the day last week when Crikey reported on the officer sent home in disgrace from Washington to become head of a climate change section in the Department of Foreign Affairs to announce a grand new title for the head of the Department, Michael L’Estrange.

To the words Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr L’Estrange can now add the words Special Envoy on Climate Change. Addressing the Asia Society in Sydney, Mr Howard said the Kyoto Protocol did not suit the Asia-Pacific region and called for a new approach which he wanted Mr L’Estrange to help sell.

So it is that our diplomatic service now has a Special Envoy on Climate Change at the top of the organizational chart and an Ambassador for the Environment, Ms Jan Adams, sitting under a First Assistant Secretary in charge of an International Organisations and Legal Division, supervising an Assistant Secretary running an Environment Branch containing the Climate Change section.

What your Crikey correspondent has been trying to find out for a week now is just how many people are actually in the Climate Change Section. Calls to the media relations section of the Department have so far not produced a response.