Britain is calling for a new agreement to combat global warming that would replace the Kyoto Protocol and include the United States, China, and India.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced the initiative to a climate change conference in New Zealand.
He says the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, needs to be overhauled immediately to include the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, the United States, as well as major developing economies such as Brazil, China, and India.
"If we are to make a real impact on tackling the menace of climate change, then we have to go far further and I do not believe that we can wait five years to conclude a new agreement," he said. "I think we have got to do it much more quickly than that."
Mr. Blair says global warming must be curbed for the benefit of future generations.
"I do not want it on the conscience certainly of me or people of my generation that we were told what this problem was in the early part of the 21st century, did nothing about it and then my children and their children end up having to deal with the consequences," he added.
Mr. Blair spoke just one day after one of Britain's senior religious figures, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, told British radio that world leaders and individual citizens have a moral obligation to protect the environment.
"There are choices we can make, each one of us, to change things now," noted Mr. Blair. "And I think what the Bible and the Christian tradition suggests is that those who have that challenge put before them, and don't respond, bear a very heavy responsibility before God."
Mr. Blair's government revealed Tuesday that Britain will fail to meet its goal of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by the year 2010.
The Kyoto treaty sets mandatory limits for signatories on the emission of greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming. The United States declined to sign it, saying it damages the economy and leads to polluting industries moving to countries such as China and India, which are exempt from Kyoto targets.