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World Adopts Low Carbon Lifestyles

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Cutting carbon emissions is the prime issue at the top of the UN climate change summit agenda. But the world's concern has gone beyond the conference hall in Copenhagen. In communities around the globe, a growing trend that makes low-carbon consumption fashionable is already changing people's lives for the better.

For residents of the Sunderbans delta, in eastern India's West Bengal state, even conventional electricity was once a pipe dream. But now they use electricity generated from solar power. Life has certainly changed in this village.

Dipak Kumar Si, Sunderbans resident, said, "We used to use kerosene lamps and spent 150 to 200 rupees a month for one liter of kerosene. Now we pay 500 rupees for a three points connection and 75 rupees a month. So we have benefited a lot. We get five to six hours' of power,and we can watch television now. That was impossible in the past."

Energy authorities say there are about 20 solar photo-voltaic projects in Sunderbans, providing electricity to more than 100 thousand people.

In southwestern China, a county is using sun-tracking solar panel technology to make greener streetlights.

In the same way that a sunflower angles itself toward the light, solar panels follow the sun's path every day. They can produce more energy to power the lights through the night.

Li Xiangyang, technical manager of ZSUN Science and Technology Company, said, "The tracking panels can generate more than 30 percent more energy than a fixed flat-plate. This is an advantage."

In cold Copenhagen, where energy efficiency and climate change are hot topics, even the famous Little Mermaid seems to have climate change on her mind.

On the city's streets, more than a third of all workers commute by bike. Even during the harsh winter, about 80 percent of summer riders continue their commuting.

Andreas Roehl, manager of Copenhagen Bicycle Program, said, "The main reason is just to get a very efficient traffic flow and the more people you can get on the bikes, the more room you have on the road for all the trips that has to be done in a car."

The Bicycle Program is just one of many initiatives being pursued by Copenhagen. The city's Environment Department is spearheading an ambitious program to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 percent within five years, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

(CCTV December 8, 2009)