Delegates from around the world yesterday warned of the immediate dangers posed by climate change.

An international conference at the Scottish Parliament is considering Scotland's contribution to the fight against global warming.

It has been organised by Holyrood's Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, which is examining a Scottish Government Bill on the issue.

The event was opened by explorer and submarine pilot Dr David Guggenheim, who warned about the effect of climate change on the world's oceans and highlighted the importance of a plan to tackle the problem.

"If we don't engage the next generation successfully, as we move ahead, this plan in whatever form won't succeed," he said. He added that, despite the difficulties, he retained "great hope" for the future.

"In engaging that next generation, the good news is that even the ones who have never seen the ocean, they love it, and they really care about the environment. It's up to us to make sure that we continue that work ahead with them."

The conference also heard from Ibnu Najib, of Edinburgh University's carbon management programme, whose native Indonesia is losing many of its 1700 islands. The country's forests are also in danger, he told delegates.

"The impact of climate change is happening now - it's not decades or centuries away," he said.

Fellow student Lilian Rushaigo said many climate-change impacts were already apparent in her home country of Tanzania.

Rising sea levels are a major worry, she said, in coastal areas of Tanzania and Kenya.

"Some family homes, fish markets and beachfront hotels have literally been swept away," she said.

The effect of global warming is also being felt in Scotland, according to Mike Passway, with several "severe landslides" in the Highlands recently.

"Coastal erosion is another major problem," he said.

"The rising North Sea could completely inundate the Old Course at St Andrews, giving a whole new spin to the expression water hazard."' The day-long event comes as MSPs scrutinise the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill.