I recently read this AP story in the Boston Globe. Apparently, the Australian government is considering awarding carbon credits for killing wild Australian camels. Each year, every six camels produces about the same amount of carbon as an average American car. Given the 1.2 million camels, that’s the equivalent of 200,000 cars. The article goes on to quote a government official about the menace that non-native camels pose to the Australian ecosystem and brand the animals a national menace. Even killing the creatures from helicopters, not a carbon-light mode of transportation, would qualify for credits, but only if the killing were humane.
The story reminded me a lot of how we’re approaching climate change and transportation in the US.
Whatever the merits of culling Australian camels or building a high speed rail network, carbon emissions play a small role in the costs and benefits. Yet, quantifiable, concrete, and topical, they often seem to be a central focus.