People “should be scared” about climate change and be willing to take action to help tackle the problem. That is the message from Britain’s young Environment Secretary, David Miliband.

He said he had thought he had been well-informed about climate change but had quickly been shocked by what he had learned since taking on the job of Environment Secretary in May this year.

“We should be quite scared – I’m more scared than I was five months ago but I’m also more hopeful”, he said. He said the technology to produce carbon-free fuel was now in place and had to be rolled out on a “mass scale”.

“People say there should be a debate about global warming. But I tell you the debate is over; the reckoning has begun. The truth is staring us in the face. Climate change is here, in our country; it is an issue for our generation as well as future generations; and those who deny it are the flat-earthers of the 21st century,” he said.

Miliband has also announced that Ministers have agreed to create a new department to tackle climate change, called the Office of Climate Change (OCC).

‘Climate change is one of the biggest problems facing the UK and the world and we need to ensure that the action we are taking as a Government is co-ordinated and as effective as possible,’ said Miliband. ‘The new Office of Climate Change will help us meet that challenge.’