Catastrophic floods and droughts caused by climate change could be prevented simply by putting less water in the kettle, according to new Government advice.
A new pamphlet, to be placed in every public library in the country, warns that the UK faces summer heat-related deaths, sea level rises and food shortages by the end of the century as a result of global warming.
But ordinary citizens can make a difference by making simple changes to their lives such as hanging out clothes to dry rather than using a tumble dryer, cutting food waste, taking showers rather than baths and switching off the television at night. The leaflet also gives advice on more costly changes people can make such as insulating their home and using energy-saving light bulbs.
It is estimated that if everyone in the UK stopped using standby on household appliances for a year, it would save the same amount of CO2 caused by the entire population of Glasgow flying to New York and back. If the whole world followed suit, it would avoid one per cent of global CO2 or 240 million tonnes.
It was issued by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to coincide with a statement by Gordon Brown on the UK's role in climate change.
The Prime Minister is due to set out the country's position on the forthcoming UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December. He will commit the UK to ambitious plans to cut global greenhouse gases including an agreement that the emissions of developed nations should peak by 2015.
The UK will be negotiating as part of the EU, which has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. However the UK wants to push the target to beyond 30 per cent after scientists said the goal for developed countries should be at least 42 per cent by 2020.
A "war room" has been set up to co-ordinate the efforts of different departments in tackling climate change and every minister who travels abroad will be asked to push the country they are visiting about making more ambitious cuts on carbon emissions.
Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said it was important to involve the public in such an important issue.
"I think it is essential we engage the British public in what we are trying to sign up to and what we are discussing in the coming months which is why we are distributing thousands of leaflets to try and explain what is Copenhagen all about because this cannot be something left to negotiators and Government ministers."
Nearly 20,000 pamphlets will be issued to every public library, Citizen's Advice Bureaus, health centres and schools. A new website called Act on Copenhagen will also give information on Copenhagen and more tips about how to save carbon. An "Act on CO2 Calculator" will enable people to work out how much carbon they use in their daily lives in order to make cuts.
Mr Miliband, who has called in the past for mass protests on the issue of climate change both in the UK and globally, said there was a huge appetite for taking action on climate change with organisations like the Women's Institute, the National Trust and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds all lobbying for an ambitious deal at Copenhagen.
"People believe climate change is happening in the UK, most people don't think it's a plot or something made up, but most people don't seem to think it will happen in their area," he added.
David Mackay, Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, said small actions can help to tackle climate change alongside wider action such as switching from fossil fuels to renewables.
He also said becoming vegetarian, flying less, joining a car club and supporting renewables like wind farms can help.
"If people do get serious about changing their transport, heating and energy habits and insulating their homes it is a substantial chunk of the solution but it is not the whole solution," he said.