Alok Sharma relieved as Business Secretary to take sole charge of climate summit

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Alok Sharma (File Photo: Paul Ellis via REUTERS)

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has been appointed on Friday as the full-time President of the United Nations COP26 climate conference to be held in Glasgow this November.

The government said the event would be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, bringing together representatives from nearly 200 countries.

“The biggest challenge of our time is climate change and we need to work together to deliver a cleaner, greener world and build back better for present and future generations,” Sharma said in a statement.

“Given the vital importance of tackling climate change I am delighted to have been asked by the prime minister to dedicate all my energies to this urgent task.”

Sharma, who was until now in charge of dual roles, will be based in the Cabinet Office as COP26 President, continuing as a full member of Cabinet.

Kwasi Kwarteng, who was a minister of state in the BEIS department, has been promoted to take over from Sharma as Secretary of State. Anne-Marie Trevelyan will step into Kwarteng’s place as Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.

The two-week climate summit, which was due to be held last year but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, aims to galvanise a renewed international commitment to an accord brokered in Paris in 2015 aimed at stabilising the Earth’s climate.