UEA green team in American success

It is one small step for man, one giant leap for America. A Norfolk-born carbon reduction campaign will be given the star-spangled treatment next month when the pioneering CRed scheme is officially launched on its mission to conquer the States.

It is one small step for man, one giant leap for America. A Norfolk-born carbon reduction campaign will be given the star-spangled treatment next month when the pioneering CRed scheme is officially launched on its mission to conquer the States.

The town of Chapel Hill in North Carolina has bought a unique online system, masterminded by a UEA-based team, which allows people, businesses and organisations to pledge ways to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 60pc by 2025.

But US officials believe this is just the start, with more cities soon to sign up.

Marcus Armes, CRed spokesman who will be travelling to the town in April to seal the deal, said: "We are absolutely delighted they have bought the system.

"When we have been out talking to the public about reducing carbon emissions, many say they are happy to do their bit but what is the point if people in America are not going to do anything.

"Now we will be able to demonstrate we are working with Americans, not to mention the Chinese and Japanese, as part of the bigger global effort.

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"This is a foot in the door for the whole of the US."

Mr Armes said much of the deal had been done via video conferencing or

e-mail, but now they needed a visit to finalise things - and would be offsetting their travel.

Douglas Crawford-Brown, who heads up the North Carolina environmental programme which includes the town and the university, said: "We believe we are the first town-gown partnership in either the UK or US.

"We will formally launch the CRed software system here on April 12, with representatives from the university, government, developers, business owners and regular citizens simultaneously carrying out a first, symbolic, action throughout town: replacing thousands of light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

"Our next step is to bring CRed to every municipality in the state of North Carolina, and we are in discussions with our utilities and the other campuses of the University of North Carolina system to sponsor the spread of CRed.

"We hope to have CRed in every municipality by the end of 2008. The utilities are considering our request to use their network of contacts - through other utilities in America - to bring CRed throughout the US."

Attitudes at the highest level appear to be changing gradually in the US.

In his State of the Union address, president George W Bush announced a cut in gasoline consumption by 20pc in the coming decade, largely by requiring the use of 35 billion gallons of renewable or alternative fuels. On Friday, he met the Brazilian president to talk about bioethanol.

Prof Crawford-Brown added: "People in the UK came to care about climate change more rapidly, but only by about one or two years. And one must always remember that in the US most action on issues like climate change take place at the state level, not the federal level.

"The tendency in Europe is to view the US through the lens of our federal government, which is a large mistake in this case.

"And I should point out that our rate of increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the US is below that of the UK, though we are starting from a much higher per capita value and so we have much more work to do in reducing our emissions."