TWO houses bought by Huntingdonshire District Council to demonstrate how residents can save cash and reduce their carbon footprints could be key to achieving emissions targets. The council has installed ('retro-fitted') a variety of energy-saving devices in an Eynesbury semi and a detached home in St Ives - both dating from the 1960s, an era typical for properties in the district - to show how residents and small businesses can play their part in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. HDC's first target is to cut its own CO2 output by 10 per cent in 2010 (the 10:10 campaign to which the council agreed to sign up last month). But longer-term goals - a 20 per cent reduction on 1990 emissions levels by 2010 (which will be missed), a 34 per cent cut by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050 - will be hit only if householders and businesses can be persuaded to take part, a set-piece council debate was told last week. Every person in the district currently pumps an average of 10-11 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, Matt Taylor, from the University of East Anglia's carbon reduction team told the council. That must be reduced to just two tonnes in the next 40 years if the targets are to be met. With carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere for 100 years, that implies immediate and urgent action, he stressed. But a recent survey cited by Councillor Jonathan Gray, the driving force behind HDC's espousal of the 10:10 campaign and the cabinet member responsible for such matters, suggests 59 per cent of the population are in denial about the human causes of climate change. Although not represented in the same proportion on the council, it was clear that climate change denial features in the minds of several councillors. Whether mankind turned out to be responsible for global warming or not, no harm would come from the assumption that it was, Councillor Doug Dew said. Society would get the benefits of the remedial measures of reducing waste, whichever cohort of scientists proved to be right about the cause.