Unlikely marriage powers ahead
From the UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico:
No-one here really wants to be doom-laden about it, but it's a reality that more and more are having to face: the UN climate process could be grinding to a halt.
Researchers from Scotland will look at the potential of marine energy in the Maldives
If things go badly wrong at this meeting, it won't fall apart completely. Instead, as UK Climate Secretary Chris Huhne put it:
"People next year won't send a senior minister, they'll send a junior minister, and then the year after they'll send a senior civil servant.
"In a few years' time it'll be the local ambassador, and it'll wither on the vine."
That would lead to a UN process completely inadequate for dealing with the scale of climate impacts in years to come, as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and numerous other science bodies.
All of that is to play for here.
But in the meantime - and partly born out of frustration with the UN process - small groups of countries and companies are exploring initiatives for themselves that could be small pieces of a much bigger climate picture, and perhaps trailblazers for others.
The links depend on common interests, historical links, and perceived constructiveness. Sometimes the pairing helps with wider geopolitical aims.
So we have Norway and Indonesia hooking up on forestry, the UK and India working together on green technology, Japan and Indonesia exploring geothermal power... and so on.
The latest, unveiled here, puts together what is at first sight an unlikely pair of bedfellows - Scotland and The Maldives.
Together, they're dipping their toes into uncharted waters - exploring the potential of the seas around the Maldivian islands for marine power.
Norway and Indonesia have already formed a partnership with the goal of protecting forests
Scotland has wild shores aplenty, and a commitment to meeting 80% of its electricity through renewables by 2020; wind may do the majority of that, but marine energy potentially has a part to play.
The Maldives has plenty of sea - 90,000 square kilometres or thereabouts - and needs renewables if it's to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2020.
Expressed in these terms, it looks more like a good marriage.
In the initial phase, scientists and engineers from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen will explore - using Scottish money - the potential for wave, tidal and ocean thermal generation around the Maldivian archipelago.
If things look good there, marine power companies (of which Scotland has several) will look to come in and actually build stuff, with support from the Scottish government and the EU.
From the UK point of view, it makes a lot of sense.
If UK companies develop new technology, they'll need new markets into which to sell it. And just as prairies are natural territory for wind turbines, archipelagos ought logically to work for waves and tides.
Deploying pilot projects might be less arduous in The Maldives, without the red tape that still bedevils the UK's renewables sector.
And for The Maldives, it's a chance to get an advanced foot on the ladder of a new generation, potentially, of renewable energy devices.
If thing do go belly-up here, we're going to see more and more of this sort of innovative partnership on climate and related issues, such as energy and forestry.
Companies want it, governments want it, NGOs want it.
For them, such projects are "facts on the ground" that can prove to others that a low-carbon energy future is viable, and so render many of the objections raised in fora such as the UN climate convention null and void.