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Camel-Slaughter Plan Rejected for Australian Carbon Credits

Camels crowd around a drinking trough in the Northern Territory, Australia. An estimated 750,000 feral camels are roaming Australia since they were introduced in 1840. Photographer: NT State Government via AP Photo
Camels crowd around a drinking trough in the Northern Territory, Australia. An estimated 750,000 feral camels are roaming Australia since they were introduced in 1840. Photographer: NT State Government via AP Photo

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A plan to give carbon credits for slaughtering camels, curbing emissions coming from their flatulence, was rejected by an Australian government committee.

The proposal by Northwest Carbon Pty, a land and animal management consultant, didn’t provide clear instructions for protecting animal welfare, and the method for assessing emission reductions was incomplete, according to a report by the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee published yesterday on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency’s website.

An estimated 750,000 feral camels are roaming Australia since they were introduced in 1840, according to an e-mail today from Northwest Carbon. Their numbers are doubling every 10 years, and their flatulence contains methane, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Northwest wanted to kill and sell the camels in exchange for credits under Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative, which allows about 300 of the nation’s biggest polluters to purchase offsets in place of emission permits.

“This decision by the DOIC simply serves to highlight the significant challenges faced by private proponents attempting to develop any genuinely innovative new methodologies under the CFI,” Tim Moore, managing director at Northwest Carbon, said in the e-mail. “We expect to submit a new, revised methodology in the second quarter of this year, having dealt with all the specific issues the DOIC raised,” he said.

Northwest Carbon proposed shooting the camels or sending them to an abattoir, after which the meat would be processed for animal or human consumption. Wild camels are estimated to cause more than A$5 million ($5.3 million) in damage to pastoral lands, fences and buildings annually, according to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Out of India

Camels were introduced in the 19th century mostly from India to provide transport through inland Australia and the supply of goods to remote mines and settlements, according to the environment department. Their emissions may exceed 1.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020 as the population swells beyond 2 million, Northwest said.

The legislation for Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative listed management of feral camels as potentially eligible for carbon credits, Moore said in his e-mail. “A feral animal methodology is important to the ability of the CFI to deliver quantifiable emission reductions domestically within Australia.”

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Sarah Chen in Beijing at schen514@bloomberg.net

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

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