BRITAIN should brace itself for more extreme weather as climate change is happening "here and now", Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has warned.
The Secretary of State, in an interview with The Herald, said the UK had to view climate change with greater urgency and would have to adapt its lifestyle and economy to take account of the increased threat of flooding.
His words came as David Cameron warned flood-hit communities in southern England the storms would not end anytime soon.
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Indeed, he told a Downing Street press conference: "Things might get worse before they get better."
The Prime Minister, who postponed the weekly Cabinet to visit waterlogged Devon, announced he was cancelling a visit to the Middle East next week to focus on the plight of Middle England.
Mr Cameron made clear money was no object in the relief effort, saying: "Whatever money is needed for, it will be spent." But he rejected calls for the £11 billion foreign aid budget to be raided to help the flood-hit communities, insisting the UK was a wealthy enough nation to do both.
Mr Davey said the view of the Met Office and other scientists was that one of the impacts of climate change was to have more extreme weather.
Asked if Britain should be bracing itself for more weather events such as the floods in southern England, he said: "I go by the evidence and when you see the scientists give these clear steers and you see the actual evidence - the extreme weather - it's difficult not to draw the conclusion we are going to have to adapt our lives and we should see climate change as a more urgent issue than some would have us believe."
Mr Davey said the UK Government had to work more closely with local communities to ensure the right investments were being made to adapt British society and the economy for the impact of climate change.
"Some people think climate change is a long way off, it's not; it's here and now," he added.