PM: Climate impact evidence growing
There is "growing" evidence that climate change is causing catastrophic events such as the huge storm which killed hundreds of people in the Philippines, David Cameron said in a stark warning to sceptics within his own party.
More than 3,600 people are confirmed dead after Typhoon Haiyan - one of the biggest on record - swept through last weekend, with the toll expected to rise.
Mr Cameron said even those who doubted the "very certain" message being given by scientists about the impact of greenhouse gases should accept that it was right to take action as insurance against future shocks.
"There's no doubt that there have been an increasing number of severe weather events in recent years," he told reporters during a visit to Sri Lanka.
"I am not a scientist but it's always seemed to me that one of the strongest arguments about climate change is that even if you are 90% certain or 80% certain, or 70% certain - if I said to you that there was a 60% chance your house might burn down, you would take out some insurance.
"I think we should think about climate change like that.
"Scientists are giving us a very certain message but even if you are less certain than the scientists, it makes sense to take action in terms of trying to prevent and to mitigate.
"I'll leave scientists to speak for themselves about the links between this and other events and climate change.
"The evidence seems to me to be growing.
"As a practical politician I think the sensible thing is to say let's take preventative and mitigating steps given the chances this might be the case."
Pressure to abandon green measures has been growing as the Government seeks further spending cuts, with figures both outside and inside increasingly vocal on an issue Mr Cameron has publicly championed.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said people should "accept that the climate has been changing for centuries", following the publication of a high-level international report that gave the strongest warning yet of the reality of climate change.
"I am relieved it is not as catastrophic in its forecast as we had been led to believe early on," he said.
"What it is saying is that it is something we can adapt to over time, and we are very good as a race at adapting."
The Philippines' lead negotiator at the UN climate summit has said the disaster affecting his nation must act as a push for international action on climate change.
Naderev Sano said: "To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair."