While the weather in much of the UK has been mixed this summer, we shouldn’t be fooled – the planet has just recorded the hottest July ever. Many countries have experienced their hottest temperatures ever. Morocco and Turkey both hit 50°c for the first time ever last week. We’re experiencing hotter temperatures than ever before and they’re accelerating. The eight hottest Julys on record (for global average temperature) have all been in the past eight years. Man-made climate change is an irrefutable certainty.

There has been speculation since last month’s by-election in Boris Johnson’s former constituency Uxbridge and South Ruislip that perhaps measures to tackle climate change are unpopular and that parties should row back on their green commitments. Keir Starmer has ditched his ‘Green Prosperity Plan’–£28billion of measures to tackle climate change, while there’s pressure on Rishi Sunak to abandon the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars.

The by-election was in some ways a referendum on Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ policy – the controversial Ultra Low Emission Zones. Just because one policy has attracted voters’ wrath, it doesn’t mean politicians should throw the baby out with the bathwater. At the heart of the ULEZ policy is a deep sense of unfairness, but this doesn’t mean voters are turning against green policies. Quite the opposite. When pollsters ask voters what key issues will decide how they vote in a general election, obviously the NHS and the economy are top considerations, but tackling climate change is consistently one of the top four issues and for voters under the age of 50 tends to be even higher.

Voters on the whole support steps to tackle climate change, but they need to be introduced fairly. They recognise that we need to invest more in public transport and it’s so odd that the Green Party of all people opposes a high-speed rail link between our major cities, bringing us in line with other modern European countries. We need to use less polluting forms of energy and if we can walk or cycle more, we should. There are lots of steps we can take, but now is the time for politicians to hold their nerve and show some leadership.

We mustn’t turn our backs on tackling climate change now, when the evidence is undeniable that the earth is entering a dangerous new phase of higher temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather events, with fatal consequences for wildlife. To renege now on commitments to tackle climate change would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations.