Chancellor Gordon Brown has spoken for the first time of the “moral need” to tackle climate change.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme global warming would hit those in the poorest countries the hardest.
But Mr Brown resisted calls for higher fuel tax, saying he had to balance economic needs with environmental ones.
Speaking after US talks with finance ministers from the G7 richest nations, he also warned that rising oil prices may threaten global economic stability.
On Friday in New York the price of a barrel of oil reached a record high of $75 (