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Know about Alok Sharma, Agra-born UK minister who chaired COP26 summit

Alok Sharma initially held the office of COP26 president and Johnson's cabinet secretary for business, energy, and industrial policy.

Know about Alok Sharma Agra born UK minister who chaired COP26 summit gcw
London, First Published Nov 12, 2021, 8:30 PM IST

Alok Sharma was barely a household name in Britain, let alone the rest of the world. He was nominated to lead the United Nations climate negotiations, coming to a close in Glasgow. But, with the future of the world at stake, the COP26 president has had to emerge from the shadows to stand in a blindingly bright spotlight for the past two weeks, attempting to reconcile incompatible demands. Reflecting on his career, the self-effacing former UK business secretary remarked on Thursday that "No Drama Sharma" is a nickname he's earned. Sharma does not have Obama's oratory skills, nor does his employer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, nominate him to lead the COP26 process with the UN in February 2020.

Even though this occurred just as the coronavirus epidemic began to sweep the world, the 54-year-old politician has maintained a gruelling globetrotting itinerary in the months running up to Glasgow. Sharma has worked to establish personal ties with minor island governments and more powerful economies by visiting China and his own country of India, two of the most vocal opponents of an ambitious accord. Delegates have praised him for his balanced leadership. Nonetheless, Sharma has been plagued by allegations that Johnson should have picked a more powerful figure to the key climate role.

Also Read | 'Last, best hope to keep 1.5C in reach,' says COP26 summit chief Alok Sharma

Sharma initially held the office of COP26 president and Johnson's cabinet secretary for business, energy, and industrial policy. The dual-hat arrangement drew accusations that Johnson was not taking the COP process seriously enough, and Sharma finally took up the post-full-time in January of this year. Sharma was born in the Taj Mahal city of Agra in 1967, and his parents relocated five years later to Reading, a commuter-belt town west of London. Like his more well-known colleague, finance minister Rishi Sunak, Sharma took the MPs' oath of loyalty over the Hindu Bhagavad Gita.

In 2010, he became an MP for Johnson's Conservatives, holding a seat in wealthy Reading after being urged by his Swedish wife to explore a career in politics. Sharma had several subordinate government jobs until being appointed to the cabinet-level position of international development minister in July 2019, when Johnson entered office. He was one of the few "Remainer" MPs retained by Johnson after fighting for Britain to remain in the EU, but he has seen a safe pair of hands and went on to support the prime minister's harsh Brexit policy.

Also Read | COP26 climate summit urges automakers to go for complete electrification

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