Green technologies such as clean-burning coal must be developed to slow the pace of climate change, the incoming chief science adviser told MPs on Wednesday.
John Beddington is taking over from Sir David King as the government's chief scientist from January.
The population biologist at Imperial College London told the innovation, universities and skills committee that the UK needs to collaborate with China and India to encourage the use of clean coal technology.
"There are some immense challenges coming and clearly climate change is the biggest," he said, adding that the government needs to build science and technology solutions to address the climate issue.
"Using clean coal technology may well be the most cost-effective way of doing it," he added.
He backed plans to use more nuclear power but said that renewable energy sources should be used in tandem if Britain is to meet its target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.
"I think there is impetus in renewables, but that impetus is unlikely to carry us through to a situation where essentially the UK can be dependent entirely on renewables," he said.
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