Carbon Credits For Killing Camels? Really?

feral camels photo

photo: NeilsPhotography/Creative Commons

I know feral camels in Australia are a big problem and all but someone this one seems a bridge too far. The Independent reports that the Australian government is considering a carbon credits scheme to award the killing of camels running amok in the outback--competing with native species, destroying fences and, oh yeah, belching methane.

Under a plan being mulled by the government, the killing of camels would be officially registered as a means of cutting national emissions. People who helped to reduce the camel population would earn carbon credits, which they could then sell to industrial polluters seeking to offset their own emissions.

The idea was conceived by an Adelaide-based company, Northwest Carbon, which proposes to shoot camels from helicopters, or round them up and send them to abattoirs to be converted into meat for humans or pets.

The more I think about this the more asinine it becomes. Again, the camels have indeed become a pest, as have many invasive species in different parts of the world. Perhaps there should be an Australian camel cull if the situation is that bad, but to use this is as a source of carbon offset seems ludicrous.

If you're going to create a carbon credit scheme, how about only awarding those projects that actually reduce human carbon emissions? Under the logic here (reinforced with the fact that the meat will be sold) a farm going out of business that decides to kill all its ruminant animals before doing so should get some carbon credits.

There are apparently one million wild camels in Australia, doubling every nine years. Each emits one ton of CO2 equivalent emissions annually.

How about we talk about the livestock industry and it's amazingly prodigious greenhouse gas emissions first?--somewhere between 20-50% of human emissions depending on how you do the calculation. How about talking about reining in those emissions by eating less meat, raising fewer animals and thereby reducing emissions, rather than talking about killing wild camels?

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