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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 02:37 GMT
Climate change contest launched
Plane arriving at Heathrow airport
Nesta wants communities to come together to cut carbon emissions
A 1m competition to find the brightest ideas to help fight climate change is being launched.

The Big Green Challenge is looking for people's best "Eureka moments" for reducing carbon emissions.

The top 10 finalists will be given funding to help to turn their ideas into reality.

The group with the most imaginative and successful idea will receive the lion's share of the 1m prize money, which will be awarded next year.

Big ideas

The competition, from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts (Nesta), is open to community groups and charities who can come up with a way of reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent or more.

Those finalists will be given 20,000, mentoring and support to put their ideas into practice.

They will have to achieve a measurable reduction in carbon emissions, involve the whole group or community and prove their idea can be expanded or copied in different settings.

A survey conducted to coincide with the competition found that four out of five people questioned believed the ideas of ordinary citizens could make a big difference to problems such as climate change problems.

Many of the potentially great ideas out there that could have a real impact on our big social problems are going to waste
Jonathan Kestenbaum

Nine out of 10 people said they had come up with an idea that could have an impact on other people's lives.

According to the YouGov poll of 2,045 UK adults men were twice as likely as women to come up with big ideas over a pint in the pub.

But the survey found that the majority of ideas never see the light of day because people do not know where to go for help or funding.

It also found many people lack confidence in developing their ideas.

Nesta chief executive Jonathan Kestenbaum said: "The findings suggest that many of the potentially great ideas out there that could have a real impact on our big social problems are going to waste."

Mr Kestenbaum said he believed that by providing support and financial help communities could "come together to tackle climate change".

Applications open on 9 January and initial competition ideas must be submitted by the end of February.

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