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UK and India collaborate to focus on low carbon growth

Minister calls for 'fresh approach' to tackling poverty and global warming.

The UK and India have agreed to work in partnership to help the Indian economy grow in a more energy efficient way, cutting emissions and helping businesses reduce their reliance on energy.

Greg Barker, minister of state for Climate Change and Energy, said that low carbon growth should be the focus of the UK's partnership with India.

The energy intensity of India's economy improved by a third between 1990 and 2007, making it more efficient than the US or China.

However, India has committed to further cut the emissions intensity of its economy by 20%-25% by 2020. Both the countries agreed to exchange experience on trading schemes and kick-start the market to channel investment into industrial energy efficiency.

Mr Barker said: "The new government is determined to bring a fresh approach to the climate debate. Last year in the run up to Copenhagen the UK lectured India on climate issues, despite the fact that 450 million people still don't have electricity.

"It's now time to stop preaching, start listening and get on with practical solutions which will tackle both poverty and climate change and create real green business opportunities."

A project between the UK and Indian Government to tackle deforestation was also set in motion which will look at the opportunity and scope of restoring forests which will benefit the climate, biodiversity and local communities.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.