Alok Sharma becomes full-time COP26 president and Kwasi Kwarteng is appointed as Secretary of State for Business


The Prime Minister has appointed Alok Sharma as full-time President of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November, with Kwasi Kwarteng appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

COP26 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, Alok Sharma will solely focus on driving forward coordinated global action to tackle climate change. 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 reduce 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 coordinate government action towards net zero by 2050 in the run up to COP26.

COP26 President Alok 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.”

Kwasi Kwarteng has been appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

With a wealth of experience working in the department, with industry and across government in his previous role as Minister of State, Kwasi Kwarteng will lead and bring together work on business, science and innovation to unleash investment and growth in his new role as Secretary of State.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan will become Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, taking forward 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 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.

The UK continues to lead by example in cutting emissions by more than any other similar developed nation – and at the fastest rate. The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan sets out how we will go further and faster towards a greener future, including committing to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, supporting renewable energy projects across the UK, investing in technology and transforming the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes and public buildings.


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