UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Alok Sharma as full-time President of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, with Kwasi Kwarteng appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
With Mr Kwarteng promoted, Anne-Marie Trevelyan will become Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, taking forward UK climate and energy policy, including implementing plans in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
She will also continue in her role as the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency, supporting countries vulnerable to climate change to adapt to its impacts and build resilience.
COP26, which is due to take place in November 2021, will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, bringing together representatives from nearly 200 countries, including world leaders, experts and campaigners.
To meet the high ambitions for the summit in the year of COP26, Mr Sharma will solely focus on driving forward co-ordinated global action to tackle climate change.
In a statement, the government said, “A successful summit in November will be critical if we want to meet the objectives set out by the Paris Agreement and reduce global emissions. The UK has set a high bar, with our recent commitment to reducing emissions by at least 68% by 2030, but we also need other countries to do their bit.”
Alok Sharma has been a leading force behind the UK’s climate diplomacy since assuming the role in February 2020. The Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the UK in December last year saw 75 world leaders set out new commitments to climate action.
The COP26 President will be based in the Cabinet Office, continuing as a full member of Cabinet, and will chair the Climate Action Implementation Committee to co-ordinate government action towards net zero by 2050 in the run up to COP26.
Mr Sharma said, “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.
“Through the UK’s Presidency of COP26 we have a unique opportunity, working with friends and partners around the world, to deliver on this goal.
“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.”
Welcoming the appointment of Kwasi Kwarteng as Secretary of State, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said, “We are absolutely delighted that such a strong and passionate advocate for renewable energy has stepped up to the very top of his department as Secretary of State.
“Kwasi Kwarteng has championed renewable energy indefatigably in his role as Energy Minister, engaging with us constantly on how to ramp up the deployment of onshore and offshore wind and innovative technologies like floating wind, tidal stream and wave power and renewable hydrogen, so we can reach net zero emissions as fast and as cheaply as possible.
“His keen focus on vital work to develop the UK renewable energy supply chain with us will help to create tens of thousands of jobs over the course of this decade in the Prime Minister’s Green Industrial Revolution. We’re also looking forward to working closely with Anne-Marie Trevelyan in her new role as Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.
“We would like to thank Alok Sharma warmly for his superb leadership of BEIS since February, guiding the energy sector skilfully through the most challenging months of the pandemic.
“We wish Mr Sharma every success in his crucial new role as President of the key COP26 summit in November, when the eyes of the world will be upon the UK and our world-leading efforts to tackle climate change which is the biggest threat to our way of life. Now that he is focusing entirely on this role, we can be sure that this will prove to be a landmark event.”