Alok sharma

Boris COPs up his host city

And so COP26 ended, not so much with a bang, but rather a whimper. Alok Sharma’s tears aside, there was a muted feel to the unveiling of Saturday’s Glasgow protocol, at which countries agreed merely to ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ coal. That sense of anticlimax was only enhanced by yet more strike action at the conference close, with the RMT union ensuring the cancellation of all sleeper trains back to London – just two days after the Foreign Office admitted Liz Truss took a domestic flight to the summit after the cancellation of her train. Still, Boris Johnson has never been one to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Watch: Alok Sharma in tears as COP concludes

Well that’s the end of COP26. After a fortnight of selfies, speeches, pledges and promises, the eco-jamboree has tonight wrapped up, with Western nations expressing their ‘profound disappointment’ after China and India secured a last minute watering-down of the commitments on coal. British negotiators wanted a ‘phase out’ of unabated coal; instead the two Asian powers succeeded in substituting it for the term ‘phase down.’ There’s anger and sadness tonight from European and vulnerable nations, with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres declaring that the ‘collective political will’ was ‘not enough to overcome some deep contradictions.’ But perhaps the best expression of those sentiments was found in COP President Alok Sharma,

The Tory blame game over COP26 has already started

Just a few months ago, the view inside Downing Street was that the COP26 summit would be a national morale booster. The Coldplay singer Chris Martin was mentioned as a potential headline act and there were excited discussions about giving the event a cute mascot. Now, the headlines are about rail strikes, bin men running away from rats on rubbish-strewn streets in Glasgow and the Prime Minister declaring that recycling doesn’t work. Even the mascot, Bonnie the seal, has been called ‘rat-like’ by government sources. ‘It’s hideous,’ says a member of a foreign delegation. Just as the technical climate negotiations have hit stumbling blocks, so too have No. 10’s other

COP out: jet-setting of top mandarins revealed

The world is gearing up for COP26, the UN’s climate change conference in Glasgow, due to be held in less than a fortnight’s time. Ahead of the eco-jamboree, ministers and mandarins have been busily telling the rest of us how to live, with the Treasury today unveiling the truth about how much going green will cost: the Net Zero target means by 2030 we can expect to pay £45,000 for a new electric car while the replacement for a gas boiler by 2035 should be between £6,000 to £10,000. Ooft. Still, while the government has suggested saving the planet by not rinsing plates before putting them in a dishwasher or freezing, rather than

Cop out: Why can Alok Sharma swerve Covid rules?

The ‘party elite’ narrative has resurfaced this morning, after the Daily Mail splashed its findings that COP26 president Alok Sharma has travelled to a grand total of 30 countries over the past seven months, skipping quarantine upon return. Sharma is under pressure on two counts: first, that as the cabinet minister responsible for the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Scotland this November, his example of plane-hopping between nations doesn’t quite gel with the government’s message of reducing carbon emissions. But it’s the Covid element that really sticks. Thanks to loopholes in the legislation, ministers are exempt from quarantine measures when they arrive back in the UK. This includes returning

Alok Sharma’s difficult diplomatic task for COP26

There’s been a mini reshuffle this evening. Alok Sharma has become the full-time head of COP26, the UN climate change summit the UK is hosting in Glasgow this November, and Kwasi Kwarteng has replaced him as Business Secretary. Sharma will continue to be a full member of the Cabinet. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was Secretary of State for International Development until the department was merged with the Foreign Office, takes on Kwarteng’s old job as Minister of State for energy. The decision to make Sharma the full-time president of COP26 is a recognition that it simply isn’t possible to do the job while trying to hold down another position. A huge

Could ‘clean tech’ save the aviation industry?

What advice can I offer Alok Sharma, who took a pasting in the weekend press for his lacklustre performance as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy? While Rishi Sunak knocks up as many runs as he can on a difficult wicket with his job support scheme and VAT deferrals, Sharma is the ‘dead bat’ (in one business chief’s phrase) at the other end — accused of offering no Brexit clarity, not much personal energy and no strategy at all. In defence of this former City accountant, we might say that his rag-bag department, operating under many different names since 1979, has rarely been regarded as an engine