Australia releases rules for CO2 credits from culling camels

Thu Jun 2, 2011 10:39am GMT

By David Fogarty

SINGAPORE, June 2 (Reuters) - Killing camels to earn carbon credits might seem an extreme way to fight climate change, but the Australian government on Thursday issued detailed rules that will help investors do just that.

Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon, a carbon project developer, has developed the rules, or methodology, governing a strict camel culling programme that would also cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Like cows and sheep, camel digestive tracts produce large amounts of methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with adults producing about a tonne of methane a year.

With no natural predators, camels now number more than one million in Australia's desert centre and the population is growing quickly.

The methodology is one of many being developed under the government's Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), the country's first nationally regulated carbon offset programme that aims to reward farmers and investors for steps that cut greenhouse gas emissions on the land.

The government, which supports Northwest Carbon's 63-page methodology, released the rules for public consultation on Thursday.

Legislation for the Carbon Farming Initiative is being debated before parliament, and it is likely to be approved. The scheme is far less controversial than a separate carbon pricing programme the government is struggling to win support for.

Camels, introduced in the 19th century, have become a major pest in Australia. They trample large areas of vegetation, damage water holes and compete with native species for food.   Continued...

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