Researchers have warned that there is only a 5% chance of the Earth avoiding a 2C rise in average temperatures by 2100.

Instead, there is a 90% chance that temperatures will rise by between 2C and 4.9C by 2100, in the “mid-range” climate change scenarios.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, cast a shadow over the Paris Agreement.

Adrian Raftery, Professor of Statistics and Sociology at the University of Washington, said: “We’re closer to the margin than we think.

“If we want to avoid 2C, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned.”

Urgent action required

Raftery added: “Even if the 2C target isn’t met, action is very important. The more the temperature increases, the worse the impacts will be.

“We would warn against any tendency to use our results to say that we won’t avoid 2C, and so it’s too late to do anything.

“On the contrary, avoiding the higher temperature increases that our model envisages is even more important, and also requires urgent action.”

> Read the research