New Business Secretary as...
Sharma takes up COP climate challenge
Alok Sharma: ‘biggest challenge of our time’
Alok Sharma is stepping down as UK Business Secretary to focus full-time on his role as president of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November.
Mr Sharma, who will remain in the cabinet, said he was “delighted to have been asked by the PM to dedicate all my energies” to handling the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted.
He is replaced as Business Secretary by Kwasi Kwarteng, while Anne-Marie Trevelyan becomes energy minister.
The government said a successful summit will be critical if the UK wants to meet the objectives set out by the Paris Agreement and reduce global emissions.
The event had originally been scheduled for November but was delayed by a year due to Covid-19.
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.”
Commenting on the change of minister, Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said: “Kwasi Kwarteng has a massive task. Businesses needs support and a plan to help them through this year, not the inadequate sticking plaster measures we have seen.
“The failure to provide support equal to the scale of the emergency risks many businesses going to the wall. He must deliver.
“It’s welcome that Alok Sharma is now doing the COP Presidency as a full-time role.
“It’s absolutely crucial that the full political, diplomatic and strategic resources of government are now directed to the most ambitious outcome at Glasgow.”