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Responding to the IPCC's influential report on the impact of climate change, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that "Governments everywhere have to act."
The world "needs to act fast" if it is to prevent a future dominated by climate catastrophe, the Energy Secretary has warned.
Speaking to Daybreak, Ed Davey defended the Government's record on tackling climate change but said he thought "the world had acted too slowly" on measures designed to combat greenhouse gases.
A clean industrial revolution is needed to cut greenhouse gases and spur economic growth, it has been urged in the wake of the publication of a major report on the impacts of climate change.
Mark Kenber, chief executive of the Climate Group, which works with governments, business and organisations to drive action on climate change, said:
"The IPCC report needs to act as a wake-up call. The 'head in the sand' approach is a ticket to failure. Businesses that refuse to adapt are sealing their own fate and putting communities and investors at risk. They're also wantonly squandering the massive opportunities in low carbon growth.
"The only road that leads to both a reduction in carbon emissions and economic growth is one built on a clean industrial revolution.
"Most of the energy and technology solutions needed already exist, but need rapid scaling up today not tomorrow."
Experts have warned that in many cases, people are ill prepared to cope with the risks of a changing climate.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says the world has seen changes in recent decades to water resources as a result of melting glaciers and differences in rainfall, and reductions in wheat and maize yields.
There has been a decrease in the number of people dying from the cold but an increase in heat-related deaths in some areas, such as England and Wales, the report suggested.
Species including fish stocks are shifting their ranges, coral reefs are being damaged and wildfires are becoming more frequent.
The report on the impacts of climate change said rising temperatures are expected to lead to increased risk of flooding, more droughts and heatwaves, drive species extinct and cause forests to die in many regions of the world.
Climate change is already having an impact across the world in areas ranging from human health to agriculture and wildlife, a major international report has found.
Rising temperatures will increasingly threaten security, health and food supplies, and exacerbate poverty and damage species and habitats, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned.
The world is in "an era of man-made climate change" and has already seen impacts of global warming on every continent and across the oceans.
On the eve of a ground-breaking UN report into the impacts of climate change, Energy Secretary Ed Davey has declared Britain must spearhead the worldwide battle against global warming.
Climate change is "hugely threatening our way of life, in the UK, Europe and the world," Mr Davey told The Observer.
"Not to lead is deeply irresponsible. If you don't lead, you will not bring others with you," the Lib Dem MP said.
His comments come as the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to release a report that is expected to warn of catastrophic consequences to food supplies, livelihoods, health and security across the world if climate change remains unchecked.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury has attacked Western lifestyles for causing climate change that is "pushing the environment towards crisis".
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Dr Rowan Williams said: "Rich, industrialised countries, including our own, have unquestionably contributed most to atmospheric pollution.
"Both our present lifestyle and the industrial history of how we created such possibilities for ourselves have to bear the responsibility for pushing the environment in which we live towards crisis.”
On Monday, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due to publish its latest study on the consequences of the predicted rise in global temperatures.
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The UN wants to show the opportunities to engage with the challenges that climate change will bring to produce a more stable economy.
The chances of 'severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts' from global warming are increasing say experts in an influential new UN report.