Save the earth, kill a camel

Australia is turning its cross-hairs on gassy camels

Save the earth, kill a camel

Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

A dead camel in Australia may soon pay off in carbon credits. Down under, where feral camels are running rampant in the rangelands and producing unholy amounts of methane, the government is proposing an official camel cull to help combat climate change. There are 1.2 million feral camels in Australia, and with few natural diseases and no natural predators, the population is expected to reach two million by 2020. One camel emits an estimated 45 kg of methane a year—the equivalent of a metric tonne of carbon dioxide. (In contrast, a passenger car emits about 5.2 metric tonnes annually.)

Under the proposed new regime, expected to become law this summer, accredited marksmen will be able to shoot the animals for carbon credits. “Potentially it has tremendous merit, because feral camels are a dreadful menace across the whole of arid Australia,” said Mark Dreyfus, Australia’s parliamentary secretary for climate change. Camels were first introduced to Australia in the late 1800s to work in the outback. Today, in the age of planes, trains and automobiles, the humped beast is just an exotic pest—albeit a gassy one.




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Save the earth, kill a camel

  1. <>
    Australians are just @$$- h0les, instead of killing camels, why not dump all the cars & vehicles,…..jerk$

  2. Quote “One camel emits an estimated 45 kg of methane a year—the equivalent of a metric tonne of carbon dioxide. (In contrast, a passenger car emits about 5.2 metric tonnes annually.) ”
    Australians are just @$$- h0les, instead of killing camels, why not dump all the cars & vehicles,…..jerk$

  3. This is no different than the east coast seal hunt. They are killing camels for carbon credits and carbon credits are just another form of money. I wonder if we hunted seals for carbon credits would it be ok? The truth is, we aren’t allowed to hunt seals because they are cute, but camels are ugly so they can be slaughtered.

    How can people on the left look at themselves in the mirror each day?

    This is just more proof that environmentalists are truly environ-mental.

  4. Another Classic example of Human indignity. Right to shoot
    to kill the mammals for polluting earth “Owned” by us is finally
    ours.

  5. How on earth has killing camels become a partial solution to
    climate change?  It is clear that
    Australia is desperately scrambling for ways to reduce their carbon emissions.  However, I cannot help but wonder whether killing
    camels is simply a scapegoat for the government’s unwillingness to deal with
    the root causes of greenhouse gas emissions.  I admit that the methane that camels produce
    is a potent greenhouse gas and even agree with the fact that camels are an invasive
    species which destroy other native wildlife.  However, to understand this policy we need to
    look at the consequences of rewarding carbon credits for camel’s heads.

    For one thing, Australia is one of the world’s highest per
    capita greenhouse gas emitters.  The
    country’s economy is heavily reliant on coal firing and mining exports. However
    the biggest contributor to Australia’s emissions is power-generation.  Around 37% of Australia’s emissions come from
    the energy sector which relies primarily on coal burning. There is much
    pressure from the international community to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Nonetheless, due to economic reasons, Australia
    has been unable to meet their goal. Yet this policy may work the opposite as it
    is intended to as these carbon-producing companies may take advantage of these camel
    carbon credits to justify their polluting. According to Environmental Leader, each
    camel’s death is equivalent to about 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide gas avoidance.
    Providing this loophole through which companies are allowed to maintain their
    environmentally unfriendly practices, may diminish the pressure put on them to change
    to greener practices.

    One may argue that awarding carbon credits to these
    companies for shooting a few camels may help soften their transition to greener
    technologies. But, does it truly help them? By allowing them to emit more
    greenhouse gases, innovation is really not that much cheaper. It is a short
    term solution. In fact, making emissions expensive makes it more profitable for
    large companies to innovate and it is also easier for greener companies to
    compete in such a market. Awarding these credits for killing camels is simply a
    short-term ‘out’ for these coal-burning companies by taking off some of the
    pressure to change. As well, one needs to question the intentions of NorthWest
    carbon, the company that first proposed this solution. It is clear that somebody
    is going to make money out of this deal.

     Moreover this market
    driven culling of camels, incentivized by carbon credits is at risk of being
    too successful. There is the chance that as the market drives the price of
    carbon credits up, the competition for killing camels may lead to not only a
    culling but a complete eradication of the camel population. Furthermore, the
    large scale plans of shooting these camels from helicopters or four-wheel
    drives are not only argued to be crude and barbaric, but are also bound to
    create even more harm to the environment. 
    Helicopters and trucks use a lot of fuel and emit a large amount of
    greenhouse gases. The large-scale herding of camels and off-roading of trucks
    may further erode soil and destroy natural flora.  Furthermore the carbon that is released by
    killing the animal and letting the carcass rot, releases about 700 kg of
    sequestered carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

     Despite the fact that
    these feral camels are an invasive species, these camels may have value to
    Australians.  In fact, as hardy
    creatures, they may be the one animal that proves useful in times of drought
    (which may be even more common as the temperature increases).  As Peggy McHugh points out, the camel could be
    the next livestock animal since they are able to withstand extreme drought, are
    disease-resistant and produce nutritious milk. Camel meat could also be used as
    a food. Cows and livestock are particularly large contributors to carbon
    emissions, so by diversifying and selling wild camel meat, one could create a
    new market instead of the large-scale slaughter of camels for the purpose of
    carbon credits.

    Overall, the idea of awarding carbon credits for the
    slaughter of camels is counterintuitive. It shifts the blame of greenhouse gas
    production onto living creatures, and dilutes the integrity of carbon credits.
    Instead of putting monetary pressures on industries, it provides a space for
    them to continue current practices.  Furthermore,
    by simply killing camels, one loses the great opportunity these camels may
    provide as a potential food source.  The
    Australian government should really consider the repercussions of the Feral
    Camel Action plan before passing this policy.

     

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