I got an email the other day announcing that Davis, California, the city with the nation’s first bike lanes and climate-specific energy efficiency ordinance, is teaming up with former Olympic Torch Relay director and Earth Run organizer David Gershon to achieve the impossible. Using the State of California’s 20% reduction goal as its starting point, the city has set a short-term target to cut the community’s carbon emissions by as much as 50% in three years. According to the message, by unanimous vote of its city council, Davis is “going all the way on global warming,” with the goal of achieving total carbon neutrality by mid-century. To get there, the city hopes that its “Cool Davis” campaign will eventually engage 75% of the city’s households to go on Gershon’s low carbon diet – a 30-day program to lose 5,000 pounds – and stay on it. The program encourages households to tailor a carbon diet following prescriptive actions and to be part of a peer-support group called EcoTeams. City organizers claim a pilot program proves a reduction of 5,500 pounds of carbon emissions per household is possible. Households using Gershon’s do-it-yourself carbon diet in similar campaigns across the country have cut emissions by as much as 35% in a matter of months. “We have proof of concept and the means to scale it up,” David Gershon said. “When it comes to cutting carbon, the action is at the local level, and the city of Davis is leading the way.” Mitch Sears sustainability director of the City of Davis agrees. “As a city where 75% of our greenhouse gas emissions are coming from residential sources, it was a no brainer. When you pair the carbon reduction results Gershon is getting with the innovative Cool Community strategy and tools he offers to scale them up, Low Carbon Diet is by far the most cost-effective option for our city budget.” Other cities reportedly have had positive results from their “Cool” campaigns. Cool Portland, the campaign’s first pilot program, more than doubled its goal of cutting carbon emissions by 10% per household, realizing an average reduction of 22%, or 6,700 pounds. Citizen-led EcoTeams – peer-support groups of five to eight households – in Vermont similarly reduced their carbon footprint by 23%. And a Low Carbon Diet Challenge in Rochester, New York, achieved an average reduction of 10,828 pounds for every participating household. It is apparent that working locally to reduce carbon emissions has its benefits, and any step toward reduced emissions is certainly a step in the right direction. But none of the programs to date has been on as large a scale as Davis’or with a reduction goal as high . The odds aren’t in the city’s favor, but I’ll be watching with interest to see how close the participants come to their goal.