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Australia Considers Killing Camels for Carbon Credits

Under Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative, a plan to help combat emissions that was recently submitted to parliament, Adelaide-based company Northwest Carbon has suggested the nation solve its feral camel crisis by allowing companies and individuals to receive carbon credits for shooting camels by helicopter or truck, or herding them and taking them to slaughterhouses, Time Magazine reports.

The camels could be processed for pet food or human consumption, and the carbon credits earned could be sold to domestic or foreign polluting companies.

Camel populations could be releasing the equivalent of 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2020.

Each camel’s death is estimated to yield an “emissions avoidance benefit” of about 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, The Australian reports.

An examination of the feral camel problem is given by the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities National Feral Camel Action Plan.

The CFI bill is expected to go before parliament for debate early week.

Photo credit: John O’Neil

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34 thoughts on “Australia Considers Killing Camels for Carbon Credits

  1. Gut reaction: Kill the choppers first. I know, that was totally off the cuff. It just seems that nature would somehow be better able to create balance with living creatures. An ebb and flow of some sorts. While we KNOW that there is no CO2 benefits anywhere in the “growth” cycle of choppers or guns and bullets.

  2. A perfect example of why the focus needs to be entirely on anthropogenic causes of GHG and not biogenic. What’s next, the elimination of all ruminants so humans can continue their wasteful lifestyles a bit longer?

  3. I completely disagree with this cruel and barbaric initiative. We need to focus our environmental concerns on industry and man-made pollutants, not nature. This is a dispicable initiative and I sincerely hope the Australian parliament does not pass this bill. Australians should stand up against this bill.

  4. I agree with “all of the above.” I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me – camels in Australia. I guess the USA doesn’t have the exclusive rights to cruel & inhumane “solutions” to “problems” with animals.

  5. Here is an idea… each human is responsible for millions of tons of crap from the time they are born, till death. Let’s start killing humans for carbon credits and to clean up our leased planet!!! Rediculous.

  6. Another example, this in the extreme, of the stupidity and absolute fraudulence of the entire concept of “carbon credit”. We get an idea in our head that something is good and then screw a bunch of other stuff up in order to do it. Usually for money. DId we so quickly forget that the whole reason we are trying to reduce carbon is to protect the natural environment? Or did it just become another money scam? I should know, I used to be one of the largest traders of this type of ‘credit’ (“renewable energy certificate”) in the U.S. – when I realized that it was fraudulent because it delivered zero value to the environment (or to the customer we represented the credit as delivering value to the environment), I tried to transition out of it. Only my employees were making so much money that they just decided to buy the company from me. I decided then and there that we needed a system that looks at ALL LIFE and considers the WHOLE SYSTEM. The only solution is comprehensive and universal systems accounting for everything on earth. Then we can tell the value of a feral camel vs. the value of an SUV. We can actually put a dollar amount on it, and we can transition out of a world where we have scarce currency that people are willing to sacrifice and waste life in order to get this imaginary money (that, last I checked any central bank can print at will). The real currency is in how we are with one another and with the natural world. When we can account for all of that, we will transition into a life on earth that respects everything and everybody and provides for all needs. This is a lot closer than it looks. We have the technology and the awareness and very soon will have a workable system to do this.

  7. Why not considering killing some pollutant humans, too?? We need to focus on what the man can change, not in killing living organisms to avoid organic emissions!.. what’s wrong with us?? how can they even consider it?

  8. Wow! Quite absurd! Kill all animals so they stop exhaling CO2?!

    I hope someone puts an amendment to that bill to calculate the total gross emissions of the manufacture and use of helicopters, fuel, guns, ammo, hunters clothing, food, water, and the CO2 released by the hunters while they are killing the camels. Of course I sincerely hope the bill never really makes it to the floor of the Aussie parliament.

  9. Okay, one can understand the desire to control an explosive population of a non-native invasive species. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_feral_camel Let’s leave that to those responsible for such land use and protection of natural resources.

    However to try and package this as a ‘carbon credit’ is morally and ethically reprehensible.

    What’s next – open season on sheep in NZ? Let’s face NZ has the highest bio-methane production per land mass in the world.

  10. The comments I have seen so far show that the readers are misunderstanding the issue, which is probably the fault of the author/editor. The goal of killing these camels is not to reduce carbon emissions, but to control or eradicate an non-native, invasive species that is destroying Australia’s outback habitat. According to what I have read in the past, this will be nearly impossible unless it is effectively incentivized.

  11. How about sending prisoners, Australia as we know it was started by them, to go and pick up the dung and use the methane to generate electricity. Then you could have a dung credit to sell.

  12. How about having an extra tax on SUVS and non-hybrid vehicles…oh wait! why should humans suffer for some not-so-smart animals who do nothing to mess up the planet.

  13. There’s a whole lot of subjectivity in using the word feral on the camels that were introduced to the continent of Australia, hence ther are not native. In that sense, who were the original inhabitants of the continent? Does this not make all immigrants ‘feral’? Oops! Was I going to say ‘shoot me’? Apparently, as humans, we are the superior race, so we decide what’s feral and what’s not. As a society behaving this way, don’t we sound ‘communistic’, i.e. we destroy what we deem is causing emission while we prefer to continue combusting fossil fuels for our own human satisfaction. Absurd…..I agree.

  14. a better strategy would be to make it law every new house and factory built has x amount of solar panels built into it and plumbed into the grid, and more incentives for older houses to do the same, but that would be common sense, we can`t have that ….

  15. As an Australian, I’m surprised I’ve not heard about this locally. I don’t know about America, but here in Australia we have huge environmental problems with feral animals, and to a lesser extent, feral plants. Most of our small furry animals have been wiped out by introduced foxes and cats. Many of the smaller predators (falcons, monitor lizards etc) as well as fresh water fish in northern Australia are endangered as a result of introduced Hawaiian cane toads. And the traces of vegetation in our desert centre are being wiped out by introduced camels. These are feral animals that have no place in Australia. Having been introduced from other parts of the world where they are part of a natural balance, feral animals and plants have no predators here and just breed out of control. I understand that our tea tree is over running the Florida Everglades. That’s a plant version of the problem we have here.

    New Zealand had a similar problem with introduced deer destroying its forests. They conducted a huge program of deer shooting from helicopter in the 1950s & 1960s, and now deer are under control there. The area affected in NZ was tiny – the area affected by camels in Australia is huge. The cost do deal with camels by helicopter would be unaffordable without some financial support.

    We need to get rid of the camels, if doing so reduces GHG as well then that’s a good thing.

  16. Wow, this is great, but you should know that we can treat methane from dung. We have available liquid which we can spray to reduce methane.

  17. I protest the use of the word ‘feral’. Species thrive where species thrive, no matter how they get there -or when. Boat, plane, wind, water, bird or animal. Labeling a species ‘feral’ or anything else as an excuse to kill it is known in human terms as genocide, ethnic cleansing and holocaust. I’m tired of all the ‘save the plant’ marketing. This old planet will be around long after we make ourselves extinct. We need to save us – by toning ourselves down, saving every other species we can and not taking more from the earth than we have to. Aboriginal peoples knew that centuries ago.

  18. At Future Compliant Systems we have devised an environmental currency which has a scientific basis and which enables every product, service or activity to be valued in a common currency.
    It is not just about Carbon. As Erik Rothenburg says in his June 10th comment, it is about everything and all life. In FCS language it is about all abundance.
    Apart from the environmental cost of the helicopters and flying them, the system also takes into account the emissions and habitat destruction caused by the camels.
    My guess is that the numbers would reveal that leaving the camels in situ would be environmentally more valuable than shooting them from helicopters, but we would need to run the numbers first.

  19. They better off killing humans who are 99% responsible for all this bullshit and leave all animals which collectively don contribute 1% of population of OECD countries. Die fools

  20. In 2009 Australia was responsible for 1.37% of the world’s CO2 emissions. This may not sound much but it was 15th highest out of 217 countries, so not insignificant. In terms of CO2 emissions per sq km of land area Aus is only 14th out of the top 16 polluters. However, out of this top 16, when it comes to CO2 emissions per head of population Aus is no.1, which is alarming when you consider it has the lowest population density of the top 16 polluters. The biggest problem is coal for electricity generation (as well as export) – stop using that and move to renewables and leave the camel problem to the Parks and Wildlife Commissions.

  21. I think the suggestion of killing camels to mitigate against climate change is very unfortunate. Australians introduced the Camels into their country to serve as transportation and now that they have alternative means of transport they start developing such silly thoughts. Power in the hands of ignorant people is very destructive…there are many uses camels can be put to…Camel milk is know to have many medicinal properties (please read more on this)…camels can also be used for climate change adaptation to provide means of transsport in areas where other animals such as cattle, horses etc cannot survive.If one uses the logic of shooting greatest carbon dioxide emitters..we should look at shooting human beings that emit the highest. I think the Australian partliametarians would be among the front line of the firing squad-jsut a thought

  22. Gut reactions, our basic instinct these days. No one stops to think for one second, since no one commenting lives in Australia where the problem exists. The one Aussie who commented said it himself, it is a major problem.
    Replace the word Camel with the word RAT and I willing to bet nary a comment of the above stupids. Feral animals and plants are like the beetle problems in Canada and US…at all costs, kill these invasive creatures that have no natural predator. If rats produced similar methane, and maybe they do but no one has done the math, there would be carbon credits for them too! And I agree, add politicians and cars and helicopters to the list to be shot…
    If you are about to comment like so many have already, put your emotion into your own backyard, look at what is happening people going hungry in your local town before putting energy out to protect a camel. Families starving in my home town (and there are many, trust me) or saving camels in Australia. Make the right decision.

  23. Killing camels is no remedy for carbon credits.A speechless animal is killed for carbon counts.We should not forget when the fossils fuel will be finished on this globe and cars will not be on road then the camel cart will be possible mode of transportation. As this is already in rural India.camel are used for transportation, agriculture, transporting agri. products to markets, irrigation, edible oil extraction from mustard and other multiple use more than the carbon spitting car. They can not be killed for the crime of methane omission out of their stools.the barrels of petrol and guns are more carbon emitting than camel dung

  24. UPDATE: The “cull-to-waste” idea has multiple flaws. I hope you will help move the dialog.


    In a recent yahoo news article, the International Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD) called the cull and the green house gas excuse “false and stupid… a scientific aberration”. They say camels methane production is not similar to cattle.


    The policy demonstrates a lack of comprehension about the danger of ignoring adaptation to global warming.
    Look at the carbon calculations validity,
    Tell the government that their lack of vision leads them to slaughter animals that could be a resource. In a world where people are starving because their herd animals have died of drought, cull-to-waste is abhorrent.

    Please sign and send on the link to the petition. It’s not just about animal welfare, or global warming, or jobs for a group of people, or even world hunger. It’s about all those things combined, and about making sure that misguided policies don’t lay waste to the future.

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