An Adelaide-based entrepreneur has hit upon a novel method of fighting global warming: he intends to exterminate Australia's vast population of feral camels by means of gunfire from helicopters and jeeps, so preventing the beasts from unleashing a deadly planet-wrecking miasma of greenhouse gas from their rumbling guts.
The idea is that the War On Dromedaries would be paid for – and indeed, turn a profit – by selling government carbon credits issued on the basis that a dead camel cannot be emitting methane by means of belch or trouser cough. Methane is a vastly more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, so the elimination of even quite small sources of it can equate to a substantial carbon-emissions reduction.
In fact, according to the calculations of Tim Moore – managing director of Oz firm Northwest Carbon – the campaign against the camels would yield substantial results indeed. He calculates that each of the feral dromedaries roaming Australia's mostly desolate interior belches or farts out no less than 45kg of methane each year, equating to a thumping tonne of CO2. On average, each camel assassination will prevent the equivalent of 15 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The resulting certificates, Moore reckons, could easily be traded for enough money to cover the costs of blasting the dromedaries from helicopters or 4x4s and disposing of the bodies, which could perhaps be sold for pet food.
More than a million mustang droms are thought to prowl the Australian interior, having bred there after camels were imported during the 19th century to act as beasts of burden. The creatures have become pests: in one well-known case in 2009, the outback town of Docker River was overrun by thirsty camels seeking water.
"If everyone knew what they were doing, people would be more concerned," Moore tells the Financial Times, "especially when they start coming into town and kicking down your toilet."
The Australian government is considering whether Northwest Carbon's camel-busting plans are eligible to benefit under its carbon initiatives. Full details can be viewed here in PDF. ®