Last reviewed 11 January 2021

Alok Sharma has been appointed president of the UN COP26 climate emergency conference to be held in Glasgow in November. Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, will take over as Secretary of State for Business.

Former Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, will now focus on coordinating global action to tackle climate change, ahead of the Glasgow summit, which the Government says is critical to achieve objectives set out by the Paris Agreement and reduce global emissions.

The UK was the first global economy to set legally-binding net zero targets by 2050 and has recently announced further commitments to reduce emissions by at least 68% by 2030.

Alok Sharma has taken on most of the ambassadorial work on the lead up to COP26 since Former President and Conservative Energy Minister, Clair O’Neill was sacked from the job a year ago.

Commenting on his new appointment, Sharma said he was “delighted to have been asked by the Prime Minister” to take on the role as President of COP26.

“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.”

Sharma will be based in the Cabinet Office and will continuing as a full member of Cabinet. He will also chair the government’s Climate Action Implementation Committee to coordinate government action towards net zero by 2050 in the run up to COP26.

Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, will replace Sharma as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), while Anne-Marie Trevelyan will become Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, with responsibility for delivering the government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.