Camel Cull Plan May Help Australia Generate Carbon Credits

Killing wild camels in Australia may help the nation generate carbon credits under a plan proposed by Northwest Carbon, a land and animal management consultant, with climate legislation to be debated next week.

The culling of wild animals is “a critically important part of the solution to climate change and bringing Australia along with the rest of the global community in reducing emissions,” Northwest Managing Director Tim Moore said in an interview with Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg Television’s “On the Move Asia.”

Australia is considering three submissions as part of its Carbon Farming Initiative legislation to generate credits for sale to companies wanting to offset their pollution. The bill will be debated in parliament next week, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said June 7. Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants to set a price on emissions starting July 2012 before a trading system that could begin as early as 2015.

“It sounds like a high-cost way” of curbing emissions, Tony Owen, academic director of University College London’s School of Energy and Resources in Adelaide, Australia, said in a telephone interview today. “We’ve really got to move into the big league where we look at life changing technology.”

Flatulence from wild camels in Australia may exceed 1.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020 as the population swells beyond 2 million, according to a submission from Northwest posted on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website.

‘Significant Contributor’

Camels were introduced to the country in the 1800s to provide transport through inland Australia and the supply of goods to remote mines and settlements, according to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The population is estimated at about 1 million and forecast to double in nine years, the department said.

“By 2020, that’s 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere every year,” Northwest’s Moore said from Adelaide. “We’re talking about a significant contributor to global climate change.”

Northwest proposes culling the camels by shooting them, or mustering the animals and sending them to an abattoir, according to its submission. The meat will then be processed for animal or human consumption.

In 2009, CNBC newsreader Erin Burnett called former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a “serial killer” after the government announced a plan to cull tens of thousands of wild camels each year. They are estimated to cause more than A$5 million ($5 million) in damage to pastoral lands, fences and buildings annually, the government department said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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