GENEVA (AFP) - International environmental groups have praised evidence of swift change by US President Barack Obama in his inaugural week, saying it could turn the United States into a world leader on green issues instead of a "pariah". Senior officials at WWF and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, told AFP that they expected the shift to be felt within a month in domestic legislation on a green economic stimulus package, and by the end of the year in global climate change negotiations. "He seems to be moving fast," said Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of the Swiss-based IUCN, a network of conservation groups, governments and companies. "It's super urgent and he knows it." "The US reducing its (carbon) impact will already have an impact on the rest of the world," she added. Carter Roberts, president of the US branch of WWF, said the United States was set to move "from being a laggard and even pariah on some issues to being a leader." "This election is a turning point, not only in the United States and its actions on the environment, but also because it will have a ripple effect around the world," he said by phone during a meeting of WWF International in Switzerland. Colleagues were deeply impressed by Obama's inaugural speech, especially a "multicultural outlook" that promised bridge-building with emerging and developing countries on the environment, they added. Roberts expected the ripple effect to have an impact on China first. Although it has set domestic targets, Beijing has been wary about Obama's campaign promises and is reluctant to commit to new international cuts in carbon emissions unless industrialised economies do more. "I believe China is ready to take the right steps to a lower carbon economy, they want and need to take the steps with the United States," Carter Robert said. Marton-Lefevre said: "China could have an impact on the US - let them sit down and talk." Key targets for Washington mentioned by the two included the stimulus package, with proposals to renovate US power generation and incentives for home energy saving, federal legislation on carbon emissions, a move to end US isolation from a global climate change treaty, and federal attitudes to nature conservation and biodiversity.