Some of my more observant readers may have noticed it has been quite warm this week.

On Tuesday, the country sweltered under the hottest day in the UK since records began, following on from the hottest ever night, the night before.

Our region avoided the absolute worst of the forty plus temperatures experienced elsewhere, but that might just be for now: forecasters are warning of further hot spells in the coming weeks.

Like some of you, I’ve experienced hotter temperatures abroad. I remember visiting Tokyo one August, back when I was teaching abroad.

That was both roasting hot and humid to boot, with the temperatures at night hotter than we’ve experienced this week.

Yet the difference there was that buildings were designed to keep the heat out, along with air conditioning as standard. In the UK, homes are built to keep the heat in.

And rather than having aircon, I have one feeble fan to waft warm air around the room.

If you talk about hot weather in this country, the usual starting point is the legendary long hot summer of 1976.

But what was exceptional in the 1970s is fairly average for the 21st century. Yes, that hot spell was sustained – 16 days of temperatures over 30°C – but the hottest temperature recorded was a mere 35.9°C.

There have been drier summers in the UK since then (1995), and several hotter summers (2003, 2006, 2014).

The world is heating up. Out of the ten hottest years on record, nine have happened since 2010 (the other occurring in 2005).

I’m reminded of the old boiling frog story: put of a frog in a pan of boiling water and it will jump out; put it in a pan of tepid water, and it will stay there, even as it heats up, until it is too late (no frogs, I should add, were harmed in the making of this metaphor).

That’s where we are with rising temperatures. They’re going up, we’re taking little notice of them, and by the time we finally respond it could well be too late.

It says much of current political priorities that despite there be a Conservative leadership election running at the same time as record temperatures, the candidates seem blithely indifferent to the environmental situation: one candidate described net zero targets as ‘unilateral economic disarmament’; another suggested the 2050 date should be delayed; two others have advocated scrapping green levies on energy bills.

Such tactics may help in becoming the next prime minister: a YouGov poll this week of Conservative party members suggested just 4 per cent considered net zero targets a priority for their new leader. But whoever wins, without concerted action, the heat will quickly be on.