HUMZA Yousaf has called on political leaders in Holyrood to “come together” to fight climate change and prevent the issue becoming part of a culture war.

Writing to the leaders of every political party represented in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister invited them to an emergency summit to discuss how Scotland’s politicians can work across party lines on climate change.

He wrote: “Tackling the global climate emergency is the defining challenge of our lifetimes, and the need for strong climate leadership is immediate.

“My government will continue to prioritise the fight against climate change as one of our most important objectives, but if we are to take the necessary, resilient action to address this emergency, we should do so together.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf: Scottish independence can fix 'historic wrong' of Brexit

“The need for a collective will and a common sense of priority is vital and your political leadership is essential if Scotland is to rise to this challenge.

“In the spirit of that cross-Parliament cooperation that underpinned our climate change legislation, I am inviting you to a meeting of Holyrood’s party leaders to discuss how we can make full use of our nation’s powers and resources to address these crises.”

Speaking to the Daily Record, Yousaf said he was disappointed to see how environmental legislation such as the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and Low Emissions Zones were being greeted with opposition from political opponents and said climate change should be above party politics.

“It is the fight of our generation, and frankly, for future generations,” he said.

“And it's not a time for political abdication.

The National: Climate change protesters outside the Scottish ParliamentClimate change protesters outside the Scottish Parliament (Image: Duncan McGlynn)

“The climate catastrophe that our planet is facing has been evident to see over the course of the summer. We have literally had our planet on fire. We've had wildfires and we've also had extreme flooding.

“That's why it's been so disappointing to see this issue of tackling the climate emergency become wrapped up in the culture wars of our age.

“If we return to that Parliament, and we get the same kind of opposition to modest measures in tackling the crisis, [such as] low emission zones or workplace parking, DRS…then there's no way we're going to get consensus on the big significant issues that we need to take forward in order to ensure that we have a sustainable planet.”

He added: “We will be judged by our children, quite rightly, around whether or not we have shown appropriate political leadership.”

It comes as the First Minister prepares to unveil his first Programme for Government in the Scottish Parliament next week.

READ MORE: BBC faces criticism for writing off Scotland in Rugby World Cup

The Scottish Greens said a summit of parties, as well as civil society, campaign groups and NGOs, could be a turning point in the battle against climate change. 

The party's environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: 

"This is climate leadership and the Scottish Greens are proud to support it. This can be a turning point in delivering the scale of climate action that is so vital.

“The climate crisis is the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced. It is our future on the line. In Scotland we are taking big strides with Scottish Greens in government, but we will need to go even further.

“We need as many ideas, perspectives, innovations and solutions as possible to speed up action, and this summit can be a key part of that process. 

“That means bringing together MSPs from all parties with climate campaigners, local community groups, youth led protestors and other organisations and building a real strength of agreement and consensus."