CLIMATE change poses as great a threat to civilisation as the Nazis did during the Second World War, former US vice-president Al Gore said yesterday.
He also claimed that public awareness about the "catastrophe" of climate change is not high enough to pressure politicians into taking action
Mr Gore, who shared a Nobel Prize in 2007 for his environmental campaigning and brought mass awareness of climate change with his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, said politicians will only do more once the people who elect them force the issue.
He insisted that voters needed to tell leaders they must act on the environmental concerns if countries are to strike a new deal on global warming at UN climate talks in Denmark later this year.
In a speech at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment in Oxford, Mr Gore evoked the global threat posed by Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
He said: "Winston Churchill aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilisation.
"The only way we can get one (a consensus] is if politicians in each country act and the only way that can happen is if awareness rises to the level to make them feel it is a necessity.
"We can berate politicians for not doing enough and for compromising too much and for not being bold in addressing this existential threat to civilisation.
"But the reason they don't is because the level of concern still has not risen to cross the threshold that makes the political leaders feel they must address it."
Countries will meet in the Copenhagen in December to try to agree a global deal to restrict man-made climate change.
It follows claims by scientists that global warming is taking place at a quicker pace than previously thought and will lead to more diseases, flooding, extreme weather and crop failures.
Preparatory talks on planned emissions cuts have stumbled on rows between rich countries and poor states, who say they did the least to contribute to global warming, but will suffer the most from the consquences.