UK appoints business minister Alok Sharma as full-time COP26 president

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Britain's Business Secretary Sharma arrives at Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it had appointed business minister Alok Sharma as the full-time President of the United Nations COP26 climate conference to be held in Glasgow this November.

The government said the event would be the largest summit the United Kingdom has ever hosted, bringing together representatives from nearly 200 countries.

"The biggest challenge of our time is climate change and we need to work together to deliver a cleaner, greener world and build back better for present and future generations," Sharma said in a statement.

"Given the vital importance of tackling climate change I am delighted to have been asked by the prime minister to dedicate all my energies to this urgent task."

The two-week summit, which was due to be held last year but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, aims to galvanise a renewed international commitment to an accord brokered in Paris in 2015 aimed at stabilising the Earth’s climate.

Sharma will be replaced as business minister by Kwasi Kwarteng.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Alistair Smout)