The speed of climatic change is up to 20 per cent slower than previously thought, according to a new research report from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.

The research, published in the prestigious Nature Geoscience journal, uses observations over the last 40 years to conclude that the most extreme predictions generated by current climate models over a 50-100 tear time frame are unlikely to come true.

“Recent observations suggest the expected rate of warming in response to rising greenhouse gas levels, or 'Transient Climate Response,' is likely to lie within the range of current climate models, but not at the high end of this range,” lead author of the report Dr Alexander Otto said.

'”The eventual long-term warming after stabilization remains rather uncertain, but for most policy decisions, the transient response over the next 50-100 years is what matters.”

Their findings, resulting from a broad international collaboration of scientists, are significant because they use the most up-to-date information on temperatures, energy flows and energy accumulation in the climate system available to the next Scientific Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be finalised in September.