Corporates form lobby group for carbon tax

Mr Campbell was speaking after Goldman Sachs JBWere this week aligned with US conservation group the Nature Conservancy to establish in Australia a Corporate Conservation Council.

The aim of the council is to encourage corporate sponsorship of conservation and keep corporates up to date with ways of addressing conservation and climate change issues.

Goldman Sachs in the US has a long association with the Nature Conservancy.

Former Goldman Sach chief executive Henry Paulson was chairman of the group before last year joining the Bush administration as treasury secretary.

Mr Campbell will be the inaugural chairman of the Australian council.

The Nature Conservancy was established in the 1950s by scientists, and from the start worked closely with businesses in seeking to buy land for conservation rather than lobbying government.

To tackle climate change, it is seeking to slow deforestation, and is exploring ways for companies to generate carbon credits from stopping the cutting of forests.

In Australia, it is working with Greening Australia and Bush Heritage to restore a 1000km stretch of bushland in the far south of Western Australia.

The aim of the so-called Gondwana Link project is to restore land while enabling sustainable grazing.

Mr Campbell admitted that he was initially a climate change sceptic, but he had accepted mounting evidence that rising greenhouse gas emissions were driving temperatures up.

Mr Campbell still remains a trader at heart.

Goldman Sachs JBWere would be an active supporter of a local market in carbon permits, he said, but the permits were currently much cheaper in the more mature London market, presenting too good an opportunity to ignore.

"Money is money," he quipped.

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