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expert reaction to cabinet reshuffle

The Prime Minister has reshuffled his cabinet, leading to the appointment of new ministers in science related ministries.


Prof Andrew Charlton-Perez, Head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, said:

“I welcome the appointment of Alok Sharma as the new COP26 chair and George Eustice as the Environment Secretary. This year is a critical one for climate action and the UK has a fantastic opportunity to show international leadership. I hope that they will both continue to draw on the world-class expertise in climate science available in the UK to make and shape policy. I would also encourage them to help their cabinet colleagues consider to factor the changing climate more broadly into government policy. Just one recent example is the call from young people in the Teach the Future coalition to reform the ways in which climate science is taught in schools, which I strongly support.”


Prof Paul Williams, climate and atmosphere scientist at the University of Reading, said:

“I welcome the appointment of Alok Sharma to head up the crucially important COP 26 process. Mr Sharma is MP for Reading West and will therefore have on his doorstep access to one of the world’s largest concentrations of weather and climate scientists at the University of Reading. We would be delighted to work with him.

“The scale of his task is huge and Mr Sharma will have to draw on all his reserves of diplomacy and resilience to drive home a deal that puts the world in a better position to fight climate change. He will need to balance the political realities of the demands of some of the biggest polluting countries with the looming existential threats facing some developing countries.

“Whatever the outcome, this is a chance for Britain to take the lead on global climate change policy. We cannot afford to mess this up.”


Prof Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says:

“We congratulate Alok Sharma on his appointment as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and welcome the opportunity to work with him through the National Engineering Policy Centre to address some of the critical issues the country faces. Ensuring that the Government achieves its commitment for UK research spending to reach 2.4% of GDP, and that proposals for a new research agency properly support radical innovation, must be top priorities if the UK is to realise its full potential. The Academy looks forward to contributing to these ambitions.

“We also look forward to engaging with the Secretary of State in his role as president of COP26 – a unique opportunity to showcase the UK’s excellent engineering and technology capability and demonstrate global leadership.”


Declared interests

The nature of this story means everyone quoted above could be perceived to have a stake in it.  So our policy is not to ask for interests to be declared, instead they are implicit in each person’s affiliation.

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