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Alok Sharma banner Photo Credit Stefan Rousseau PA Wire.jpg
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Alok Sharma Photo Credit Stefan Rousseau PA Wire.jpg
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Politics

He needs ‘to flex some huge diplomatic muscle’: Christian groups react to new Cop26 president

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian charities have welcomed the announcement of Alok Sharma as the new president of the UN climate talks this November in Glasgow, also known as Cop26.

However, they have emphasised that he has a lot of work to do.  

Christian Aid's global climate lead, Dr Kat Kramer said Mr Sharma has a big responsibility ahead of him. 

"Taking on the delicate and grave task of ensuring these crucial talks succeed is a huge responsibility for the UK and its role on the global stage," she said. 

"It would have been a big task had Aloka Sharma been in post from the beginning, rather than coming in late in the process. 

 "It's now vital they work very closely with the backing of the Prime Minister to both get other countries to commit to new pledges to tackle the climate crisis but also put the UK's own house in order and enact policies to accelerate UK decarbonisation. As Secretary of State of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Sharma will be well placed to oversee this."

Dr Kramer also called for the UK Government to provide technological and financial support to developing countries who are suffering because of the climate crisis. 

Meanwhile, Tearfund also highlighted the importance of Mr Sharma getting other countries to promise to make meaningful changes to address climate change.

Dr Ruth Valerio, director of global advocacy and influencing at Tearfund said: "Mr Sharma now has about nine months to flex some huge diplomatic muscle for a successful climate conference in November, and get more countries to submit revised pledges to reduce their emissions to limit warming in 1.5C.

"The UK must provide ambitious and inspirational global leadership by getting our finances out of fossil fuels overseas and instead increasing investment in renewable energy, as well as getting on track to achieve our own net zero commitment."

Mr Sharma's appointment was part of a recent cabinet reshuffle.

Last month it was announced Prime Minister Boris Johnson dropped Claire O'Neill as president of Cop26.

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