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The UK’s former international development secretary to business secretary, Alok Sharma has been appointed “President” of this year’s UN climate talks, taking over from Claire O’Neil, who was removed from her position only 10 days ago, meaning he will now host the critical Climate Change Conference (COP) in November.

Alok Sharma has also been appointed Secretary of State for business, energy and industrial strategy. He was previously the secretary of State for International development, for a period of 8 months until his promotion this morning at the cabinet reshuffle.

The UK were granted permission to run the 26th Annual climate change conference, after striking a deal with main rivals Italy. Under a joint proposal, the UK would hold the main summit and Italy would host a preparatory meeting known as the pre-Cop, as well as a youth event.

UN Climate change conference UK 2020 welcomed Mr Sharma into his new position, tweeting “COP26 will bring the world together to speed up the global journey to net zero.”

The two week United Nations Climate Summit (COP25) in December, ended in Madrid with a modest agreement, postponing until next year, a key decision on global carbon markets, although there were no new ambitions and little progress was made, leaving many people frustrated with the lack of breakthrough to combat climate change.

However, this year’s climate meeting is considered to be one of the most important since the 2015 Paris summit and the presidency has a key role to play in ramping up ambition.

Mr Sharma has proved he is considered a key player in Johnson’s cabinet, as he took significant criticism for the government’s handling of the Grenfell Tower fire, including a televised meeting with furious residents.

The former accountant was also an employment Minister and foreign minister and served on the Treasury select committee and worked as a Conservative vice-chairman showing the breath of his work within the party. However his track record on environmental issues, has many wondering if this is the right person for the job.

Screenshot 2020-02-13 at 13.16.30

Alok Sharma voting record, provided by

5 days after Boris Johnson won the general election, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said the government needs to be meeting its own objectives to have credibility with other nations. However, it comments that the UK efforts to address the climate crisis have so far fallen short.

But many believe that the COP26 will show Johnsons support to the UK’s net zero target is still under pressure to come up with more robust policies to implement it.

In December 2015, after the Paris deal was signed, Johnson wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph: “Whatever is happening to the weather at the moment, it is nothing to do with the conventional doctrine of climate change.”

Will the COP26 in Glasgow be a success or a repeat of the COP25?

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