Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron was approached by Boris Johnson to preside over the United Kingdom’s preparations for the upcoming international climate summit in Glasgow, but declined the offer, according to The Telegraph.
The publication cites Whitehall sources as saying Cameron was offered the presidency of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) expected to take place from 9-19 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK, in a bid to emphasise the Government’s commitment to the cause.
There has not been an official comment from Cameron’s spokesman.
Lord William Hague, the former Conservative Party leader from June 1997 to September 2001 and foreign secretary, was also considered for the role, according to sources that confirmed to the publication that he had been approached but insisted that Johnson was still hoping to bring in a high-profile name to chair the event.
The sources reportedly stated the chosen minister may not be granted the status of president for the event, with other experienced officials summoned to assist at an ambassador level.
Johnson is anticipated by sources to make a ministerial appointment in the coming days, with his long-term ally Lord Edward Goldsmith, a prominent environmentalist, suggested as a contender for the role.
Officials working in preparation for the Climate Conference are also reportedly to be brought under the control of a government department.
Earlier, on Friday, 31 January, Claire Perry O’Neill was sacked from her position as president of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference.
In September 2019, the former Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth was nominated as President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. However, that same month she announced she would not stand for re-election to Parliament, and gave up her seat in the general election of December 2019.
The PM’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings, removed Perry O’Neill from the COP26 Presidential post on 31 January 2020, stating that it would become “a ministerial role”.
O’Neill subsequently criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a “lack of understanding” about climate change and as demonstrating a “huge lack of leadership”.
Speaking before the Tuesday launch of COP26 at the London Science Museum, the BBC quoted Perry O’Neill as saying:
“The Prime Minister has admitted to me that he doesn’t really understand it. He doesn’t really get it, I think is what he said, but others around him do.”
Perry O’Neill also said the UK’s climate efforts were at “Oxford United levels when we need to be Liverpool if we are going to do what the world actually needs us to do”.
Countries are expected to deliver more ambitious domestic plans for slashing greenhouse gases by 2030.
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