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    France, Britain in joint warning on climate change

    France and Britain made a joint appeal on Thursday for action against global warming, declaring that a recent string of extreme weather events had now confirmed climate change was underway.

    "The (European) heatwave of summer 2003, repeated floods, the advance of desertification, the melting of the icesheets and glaciers are an illustration of the first effects of climate upheaval," four of their ministers said in a joint commentary, published on Thursday in the French daily le Monde.

    Describing global warming as "major collective risk", the two countries called on the world community, led by industrial nations, to hold down emissions of fossil-fuel gases blamed for the rising temperatures.

    "Our two governments are firmly committed, with their European partners, to meeting this crucial challenge," they said.

    The article was signed for Britain by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Secretary of State for the Environment Margaret Beckett, and for France by Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and Ecology Minister Serge Lepeltier.