IN November, the eyes of the world were fixed on Scotland as we welcomed COP26 to Glasgow – and it’s fair to say the world liked what it saw.

Countries large and small were represented as world leaders addressed the pressing global challenge of climate change.

And, as hosts, we were given an enticing preview of how an independent Scotland would be warmly welcomed to the top table among the nations of the world. Our guests recognise that Scotland, led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will bring a lot to that top table. We’ve been widely praised for helping to lead the world into the net-zero age.

Ninety-seven per cent of our electricity now comes from renewables. Our floating wind farm is the world’s first. We’ve planted 44 million trees in just two years. And we’re providing funds to help developing countries tackle the impacts of climate change.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: We can build a new nation and a new world ... together

Scotland does not yet have all the powers to make the best of our vast natural resources. That day will come. Until then, we’re more than ready and able to play our part on the global stage.

We’ve a fantastic story to tell.

There is a wealth of goodwill towards Scotland from countries across the globe, many of whom are watching and waiting for us to take our future into our own hands.  We must not squander that goodwill but use it as a springboard towards creating a greener, fairer, wealthier way of life for all.

And we know what is possible because when we look at our near neighbours in Europe we can see that, for nations of Scotland’s size, independence works.

With the powers that come with being an independent country, all of them are richer per head than the UK. All of them are more equal. And all of them have lower levels of poverty.

READ MORE: Michael Russell: Scotland can team up with friends to be wellbeing nation

If Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria and the rest can be fairer and richer than the UK then so can Scotland.

Scotland can, and will, do so much better as an independent country. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says: “The time has come to take our future into our own hands.”

This article was part of our eight-page independence special, with one million copies printed and distributed. Click here to find out more