As a top-flight racing driver, Britain's Science Minister Paul Drayson may seem an unlikely critic of the auto industry.

The self-confessed "car nut" owns a motor racing team and competes in a 200mph Aston Martin in competitions around the world.

 But at a news conference in London, he attacked the "significant minority" of auto industry executives who he claims still deny the evidence for climate change.

 "It shocked me that those views were held by senior managers," he said. "I have been actually quite surprised...(by) how many of them just do not accept the scientific evidence around climate change. It really shocked me."

 Climate change is "the greatest challenge of our generation", he added, and the problem is bigger than the global economic crisis.