THERE are many ways to skin a camel, but none, it seems, that count towards reducing Australia’s carbon footprint.
Scientists have found camels to be the third-highest carbon-emitting animal per head on the planet, behind only cattle and buffalo. Culling the one million feral camels that currently roam the outback would be equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road in terms of the reduction to the country’s greenhouse gases.
But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told The Australian there was little point doing anything about Australia’s feral camels as only the CO2 of the domesticated variety is counted under the Kyoto Protocol. That equates to only a small number of the beasts, the sort found lugging tourists around Cable Beach in Broome and at Monarto Zoo, southeast of Adelaide.
It is one of the many quirks of international carbon accounting standards, but one that has been sufficient to stop the Rudd government from stepping in to address the camel problem.
Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt reckons the government has “lost its marbles”. “It’s now reached the absurd situation where a camel in captivity is a threat to the planet but a feral camel in the wild is absolutely fine,” Mr Hunt said.