An Australian land management consultant has proposed killing large numbers of wild camels in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to global warming. The proposal, one of several in an initiative to be debated in the Australian parliament next week, posits that eliminating the camels would generate carbon credits, which industry could then purchase to offset their carbon emissions. Northwest Carbon proposes to shoot the animals or round them up for slaughter, with the resulting meat processed for animal or human consumption.
Camels were imported to Australia in the mid 19th century, where they were used for transport across the vast, arid interior portions of the continent. When no longer needed, they were set loose. Nature took her course and now there are about 1.2 million feral camels in the country. The ruminants are highly destructive “pests” and each camel emits about 100 pounds of the greenhouse gas methane each year.
Because of its high reliance on coal-powered energy, Australia has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emission levels of any country, and the nation is looking at many ways to address the issue. But is camel-culling a costly diversion from more effective measures? Bloomberg quotes Tony Owen, academic director of University College London’s School of Energy and Resources in Adelaide, Australia:“It sounds like a high-cost way of curbing emissions. We’ve really got to move into the big league where we look at life changing technology.”
The Australian legislature is engaged in a fierce debate over the Labor government’s proposal to introduce a fixed price on carbon emissions–a carbon tax–on large industrial polluters by July 2012. Polls show Australians are bitterly divided on the subject; many fear the tax will further harm the economy, while thousands rallied in support of the tax around the country last Sunday.
Photo: Major polluter or convenient scape-camel?
06-08-10 © Marc Lepage via iStockphoto