The UK prime minister Gordon Brown's visits to China and India have strengthened the relationship between the two biggest developing countries and rich nations in fighting climate change according to a recent article in SciDev.net.
UK and Chinese governments signed an agreement in Beijing in which the UK promises to offer £50 million (US$100 million) from their environment funds in beneficial loans — with no or low interest rates — or grants for research into climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is in addition to existing joint research programmes, which are heavily financed by the UK government.
The two governments also agreed to upgrade the Sino-UK climate change working group from vice-ministry level to ministry level and to enhance cooperation in clean energy technologies.
John Warburton, senior environment adviser to DFID’s China Office says the significance of the joint announcement is that the climate change fight has been extended from cooperation between single government departments to multi-sectoral participation.
The prime minister’s visit to China followed a two-day trip to India. Under an ongoing Indo-UK agreement on climate change mitigation and adaptation studies, the two countries announced the initiation of a new project to identify barriers to low carbon technology transfers. Brown also announced the establishment of a Research Councils UK (RCUK) office in India that — along with India's Department of Science and Technology (DST) — will form a "science bridges initiative" to foster collaboration between individual research institutes. Each side will contribute £4 million (US$8 million) to the initiative.