A taskforce made up of leading international think tanks was launched on Monday to tackle climate change.
Most Britons don't expect to see climate change effects for decades
Former UK cabinet minister Stephen Byers chaired the group's opening meeting in Windsor, Berkshire, on Monday.
Mr Byers warned climate change was the "overriding environmental challenge" of our age.
The taskforce - which includes the UK Institute for Public Policy Research - will make recommendations to world governments in 2005.
A statement released before the inaugural conference said the participants were taking "a responsibility to future generations to hand to them a planet that is habitable and rich in life".
Mr Byers said: "Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities threatens that objective".
It has been claimed climate change could drive a million of the world's species to extinction as soon as 2050.
In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists suggested a quarter of animals and plants living on land in six world regions could be forced into oblivion.
Only by cutting greenhouse gases and storing the main one, carbon dioxide, could many species be saved, they warned.