Flooding on the scale seen in Cumbria over recent days will become more frequent due to climate change, the government has warned.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said people in the rain-lashed county were battling with the "worst flooding in memory".
He added: "Flooding of this kind will become more frequent because of climate change."
In resumed debate on the Queen's Speech on 24 November, Mr Miliband said: "We must act not just to adapt to climate change but prevent it."
And he condemned "noises off" from those who denied that climate change was taking place and claimed the science was not proven.
"Let's be clear, the overwhelming consensus of scientific evidence says that climate change is happening and it is man-made."
Tory former cabinet minister Peter Lilley challenged him over claims that leading British climate change scientists manipulated data to strengthen the case for man-made global warming.
Mr Miliband said he was not going to comment on leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit but insisted "maximum transparency" of data could only help prove the case that climate change was "real and man-made".
He added: "We should be cautious about using partial emails that have been leaked to somehow cast doubt on the scientific consensus that there is. That is very dangerous and irresponsible because the scientific consensus is clear."
Mr Miliband said the scale of the challenge was "enormous" and pledged that Britain would play its part in trying to get an "ambitious agreement" at the climate change talks in Copenhagen next month.