Ian Pearson, Minister for Science and Innovation, has issued a challenge to the next generation of engineers to lead the world in developing environmentally friendly technologies to combat climate change.
Pearson told a global sustainability forum at Imperial College London that tackling climate change and the effects of population growth could generate at least £700bn globally by 2015.
The minister added that British engineers should capitalise on the opportunity for economic growth while helping to mitigate the most damaging aspects of climate change.
"There are over 17,000 companies in the UK that are already focusing on the environment. I expect the value of this £25bn industry to more than double within the next 10 years, with employment growing by at least 100,000 over the same period," said Pearson.
"Major names like Unilever, Ford and BMW are all moving to more sustainable means of production.
"The sustainable companies of tomorrow will need engineers that can help them find ethical, environmentally sound solutions to the tough challenges to come."
Pearson called on UK employers to engage closely with Sector Skills Councils, including the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance, to ensure that UK engineering has the highly skilled workforce required successfully to compete with other countries.
The minister warned that, if action is not taken in all sectors of industry and the community, global temperatures will rise by up to 6.4 degrees, and sea levels by 20cm to 60cm, by the end of this century.
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