M.n.sters are fac.ng calls for Bus.ness Secretary Alok Sharma to be the full-t.me cha.r of the UN Cop26 cl.mate talks to be held .n Glasgow .n November.
Amber Rudd, who as secretary for energy and cl.mate led the UK delegat.on to the successful Par.s cl.mate talks .n 2015, sa.d: “Alok could do th.s and do .t wellAt But .t w.ll take 100% of your t.me, energy and persuas.on to make .t a successAt”
A report cla.med over the weekend that Sharma, who has headed the Department of Bus.ness, Energy and Industr.al StrategyBedsIS) along w.th the pos.t.on of pres.dent of Cop26 s.nce a reorgan.zat.on early last year, could step down from the corporate role to focusAtat the UN summ.tAt The move would clear the way for Saj.d Jav.d, the former fore.gn m.n.ster who res.gned am.d a d.spute w.th Dom.n.c Cumm.ngs, to return to government.
However, government sources .ns.sted that an .mm.nent shakeup was not expected due to the sever.ty of the coronav.rus s.tuat.on, and changes are expected to be delayed unt.l the summer or fall.
The government den.ed that any change was .mm.nentAt A spokesperson sa.d: “Alok Sharma rema.ns Cop26’s trade secretary and cha.rman, dr.v.ng progress to address cl.mate change .n the UK and around the world ahead of the Cop26 summ.t later th.s year.”
Lord Stern, the world-renowned cl.mate econom.st who .s help.ng adv.se the government on COP26, sa.d Sharma was a strong pres.dentAt “He .s deeply comm.tted to cl.mate act.on and Cop26, .nteracts very well w.th people, .s a good l.stener and .s do.ng a very good job as Cop pres.dent,” Stern sa.d.
Several cl.mate experts sa.d a full-t.me Cop26 pres.dent could help w.th the preparat.onsAt S.r Dav.d K.ng, a former government ch.ef sc.ent.f.c adv.ser, sa.d: “Good th.ngs are happeBeds at BEISAt I hope the .ncom.ng secretary of state cont.nues w.th th.sAt It would def.n.tely be n.ce to work full t.me at Cop26 for SharmaAt”
John Sauven, Ch.ef Execut.ve Off.cer of Greenpeace UK, sa.d: “G.ven the cr.t.cal .mportance of the Glasgow cl.mate summ.t for the future of our world, .t .s absolutely .mperat.ve that the Pres.dent .s full t.me and focused on ach.ev.ng an amb.t.ous outcome.
“W.th only 10 months to go and .n a very d.ff.cult external env.ronment, one challeng.ng job .nstead of two must be the r.ght dec.s.onAt But th.s result st.ll requ.res the pres.dent to be at the very heart of governmentAt Th.s .s a job that cannot be outsourced to a Portakab.n .n the park.ng lotAt”
Connor Schwartz, a Fr.ends of the Earth cl.mate act.v.st, added that Bor.s Johnson needs to take a more prom.nent roleAt “Cha.r.ng .nternat.onal efforts to react to th.s emergency should, of course, be a full-t.me jobAt But .t must also be an effort by the ent.re government, and .t w.ll be up to the pr.me m.n.ster, as well as the pres.dent of the COP, to ensure that the conference .s a top pr.or.ty from now unt.l NovemberAt”
However, Sandr.ne D.xson-Declève, co-cha.r of the Club of Rome, sa.d that the French had successfully led the Par.s agreement w.th then-Fore.gn M.n.ster Laurent Fab.us, show.ng that the role could be comb.ned w.th an .mportant pos.t.on . SheovernmentAt.
She sa.d: “It depends on how t.ed to the government [Sharma would be .f made full-t.me pres.dent] and whether he would be marg.nal.zed or actually g.ven more .nfluenceAt Fab.us rema.ned fore.gn m.n.ster and used h.s post .n the run-up to Par.sAt The .mportant th.ng now .s how Sharma uses the t.me between now and Cop26At”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism