Dr Julia Meaton from the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Communities warns of the dangers of complacency in the face of recent Met Office figures that indicate global temperatures are 1.02C above the average.

In an online blog, Dr Meaton says: “This research suggests that we are halfway towards the two-degree centigrade rise that is widely accepted as the maximum increase that the planet can tolerate without catastrophic implications for humankind. The implications and the challenges that this represents are of global importance – but where is the response, where are the headlines, where are the serious-faced politicians reassuring us that they are making every effort to address the problem?

“We have wasted over 25 years arguing over causes and impacts – we no longer have the luxury of time,” states Dr Meaton, who claims that the public vainly “cling to the hope that the climate sceptics are right and that the problem will go away, or that a technological miracle will save us. Meanwhile, large companies have clouded the evidence and politicians have sought to pacify their key funders, “using uncertainty and the need for proof as a means of delaying hard-hitting, potentially planet-saving legislation.

“Businesses need to understand that they can no longer ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ and that wholesale changes to their business plans need to be made – quickly,” she concludes.