UK PM names minister to take over UN climate talks Feb 14, 2020 0 67 12345 London, Feb 13, 2020 (AFP) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday appointed a dedicated government minister to lead the UN climate talks in Glasgow later this year, after warnings that planning for the event is "miles off track". Former international aid minister Alok Sharma was named minister for the COP 26 summit, replacing the event''s former president, Claire O''Neill, who was sacked last month. Sharma will combine the role with the position of cabinet minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, which he was given as part of a wider government reshuffle. Kat Kramer, global climate lead for charity Christian Aid, welcomed the appointment, although she warned he was taking over "late in the process". She said he must work to get other countries to commit to tackling climate change, "but also put the UK''s own house in order and enact policies to accelerate UK decarbonisation". His business and energy brief means he will be "well-placed to oversee this", she said. However, Green party MP Caroline Lucas said Sharma had voted 15 times in parliament against measures to tackle what she called the climate emergency. "This is not commitment. Our climate, and the UK''s reputation, cannot afford someone who is so lukewarm on biggest challenge we face," she said on Twitter. The 52-year-old was born in India and brought up in south-east England. He trained as an accountant and worked in banking before becoming an MP for Johnson''s Conservatives in 2010. Sharma held a variety of junior government positions before being given the cabinet-level job of international development minister when Johnson took office last July. O''Neill was a former minister but was not inside government when she was made COP president. Downing Street said it wanted the role to be held by an existing minister. She responded to her sacking by warning that planning for the UN talks was "miles off track" and suggesting Johnson himself did not understand climate change. "You promised to ''lead from the front'' and asked me what was needed ''money, people, just tell us!''. Sadly, these promises and offers are not close to being met," she wrote to him. The summit plans have also been hit by tensions between London and the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is pressing for a new independence referendum. Johnson''s office on Wednesday said it was "committed" to holding the summit in Glasgow, but added that it was looking at a London venue as "contingency planning". "The Scottish government needs to work with us to make sure it is a successful summit," the spokesman said. Sturgeon dismissed the comments as "just silly", saying the two governments were working well together on COP -- and accused Johnson of "playing politics". ar/phz/klm RELATED ARTICLES Greek islanders take anti-camp protest to Athens Feb 14, 2020 0 73 Macron visits retreating glacier, urges ‘fight of the century’ Feb 14, 2020 0 77 British finance minister quits in reshuffle shock Feb 14, 2020 0 1186 N Macedonian police intercept van with 53 migrants inside Belgrade: North Macedonian police have intercepted a van with 53 migrants crammed inside and arrested the driver, the Makfax news agency reported on Thursday. The vehicle was stopped on a regional road near the village .. Trump, Bloomberg trade barbs as ex-NY mayor rises in polls AFP New York US President Donald Trump and White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg locked horns on Thursday in a blaze of caustic tweets as the former New York mayor climbs in the polls in his drive to capture the Democratic .. Brazil’s Bolsonaro lashes out at Pope Francis’s Amazon text Brasília: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out at Pope Francis on Thursday after the pontiff pleaded for the protection of the Amazon rainforest. “Pope Francis said yesterday the Amazon is his, the world’s, .. Mexican billionaires contribute to presidential plane raffle Mexico City: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday that business leaders had pledged to buy 80 million dollars worth of tickets in a raffle he organised to fund the upkeep of his predecessor’s .. Senate passes measure to curb Trump on military action against Iran Washington: The US Senate passed a bipartisan resolution on Thursday to curb President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval. The move comes amid growing concern ..