As part of the latest cabinet shuffle the former international development minister has replaced Andrea Leadsom as the UK’s new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Alok Sharma is also likely to take on the role of president of the upcoming UN climate talks which are to be hosted by the UK this November aside from being appointed as the business secretary by Boris Johnson.
But being appointed as the President of the Cop26 means facing an uphill task after big names such as the former Prime Minister David Cameron and former foreign secretary William Hague turned down the offer.
Several other ministers had been mooted for the role, including Michael Gove, who told a conference on Tuesday there were “many, many, many, many” people who would do better as Cop26 president, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the clean energy minister. Rumours also swirled around Zac Goldsmith, who has a long background in environmentalism. Before entering parliament, he was owner of the Ecologist magazine, and a strong campaigner and philanthropist on green issues.
Previous Cop summits have been led by the host government’s most prominent minister with a relevant portfolio, usually the environment minister.