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Greenhouse accounting under the UN : only if its human connected

Posted Feb 09 2010 12:00am

Carbon is carbon. Whether it is human induced or not.

"Camel herds emit a very small amount of greenhouse gas," Senator Wong’s spokeswoman said.

The Australian obtained two independent assessments of the mathematics of taking out the one million-strong feral camel herd: from the federal Parliamentary Library and also veterinary scientist George Wilson, an expert in animal greenhouse emissions.

Dr Wilson, who is head of consulting group Australian Wildlife Services, remains sceptical of the proposal to eradicate feral camels due to practical problems.

But he, like the library, maintained that the Coalition had its numbers right.

A spokeswoman for Senator Wong said the "500 cars" carbon analogy was appropriate because only emissions from tourist ride-type camels counted under Kyoto.

"The figures provided relate to anthropogenic emissions that count towards our national emissions target," the spokeswoman said. "This same principle applies elsewhere.

For example, we don’t include the emissions from bushfires or drought, because even though they impact on our emissions, they are not something in our direct control."

The absurdity of the UN carbon accounting systems was also highlighted by Mick Keogh, executive director of research group the Australian Farm Institute.

Mr Keogh noted that while emissions from a deliberately lit bushfire count under Kyoto, they did not if the fire was caused by lightning.

And it also varies depending on whether it razes privately owed land or a national park.

"When it’s burning in the park, none of those emissions officially count, but when it spreads back out of the park to private land on the other side, it starts to again contribute to greenhouse emissions as measured by the UN’s rules," he said.

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