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The former UK energy minister, who was set to lead the UN COP26 talks later this year in Glasgow, has been removed from the post. Claire O’Neill’s replacement is yet to be announced. Her announcement on the official COP26 President Twitter account laid the blame firmly at Whitehall and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Under the Twitter handle of @COP26President, Clair O’Neill wrote on Friday evening: “Very sad that the role I was offered by Boris Johnson last year has now been rescinded as Whitehall ‘can’t cope’ with an Indy COP unit. A shame we haven’t had one climate cabinet meeting since we formed. Wishing the COP team every blessing in the climate recovery emergency.”
Downing street state that, as Mrs O’Neill is no longer a Government minister, she could no longer chair the Glasgow meeting set for November.

It has been suggested that, she thought some of the UK’s most experienced climate diplomats, moved too slowly and were tied to the old and ineffective methods. Mrs O’Neill has previously described herself as a “crap diplomat, but someone who gets things done”. A replacement will shortly be announced by Downing Street today, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson kicking off the countdown to COP 26.

Among those rumoured to be selected to take over the task of preparing for the climate conference include Michael Gove, Zac Goldsmith and Andrea Leadsom. Former Conservative leaders William Hague and Michael Howard have also been suggested as possible candidates.
Boris Johnson is likely to demand that his government takes its role as organiser of the conference extremely seriously and has made it clear he or she will be someone “at a ministerial level”.

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* https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/feb/02/leadsom-gove-touted-cop26-presidency

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