THE Queen’s passing has powerfully dominated public life and the media over the last week.

Regardless of our differing views about the monarchy and whether it should continue, she made her mark on history, and it is right to offer condolences to her family and those who were clearly touched by her life.

As head of state, she had a front-row view of 70 years of vast social and economic change. From the establishment of the welfare state and new human rights, to the decline of the empire and our changing relationship with Europe. That arc of history spanned 15 prime ministers. Many leaders valued her as a source of wisdom over the decades and, at a time of change and uncertainty, it is understandable that many people feel a sense of stability has been lost with her passing.

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Despite the progress delivered during those 70 years, the world she leaves today is on the verge of social and environmental peril. The scale of change we need now is every bit as urgent as it was at any point during her reign. Europe has just suffered its hottest summer on record. Parts of London were literally burning, and there have been heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and deaths all across the continent.

The juxtaposition with the devastating floods that have besieged Pakistan couldn’t be more stark.

Tens of millions of people have been impacted by the floods, with some 300,000 homes being destroyed. With temperatures rising, charities are warning that waterborne disease and mosquitos could cause mass outbreaks of illness.

It’s only been 10 months since the COP26 climate conference brought world leaders, campaigners and global experts to Scotland. There was no shortage of rhetoric, with the then prime minister Boris Johnson saying we were at “one minute to midnight” on the doomsday clock. But warm words are not enough.

The Queen reflected on the concerns of many when she said during COP26 that “the time for words has now moved to the time for action.”

Unfortunately, so many of the pledges and promises that were delivered that week in Glasgow have already turned into dust.

The National: Liz Truss

We may have a new Prime Minister, but all of the early signs suggest that Liz Truss (above) and her government will double down on the same policies that helped to bring us to this point.

The plan that she put forward last week does nothing to tackle the climate emergency, nor does it tackle the cost of living crisis. She’s going to spend £100 billion effectively subsidising corporate profits while locking bills in at a cost that is still far too high for most households.

This will be the defining issue, not just of this generation but of all future generations. There will be no second chances, and all governments need to start acting like it.

We can’t drill our way out of a climate crisis. But, with plans to expand nuclear energy and grant more than 100 new oil licences in the North Sea, what Downing Street is proposing is a step back into the past at a time when we should be investing in the jobs of the future.

The proposals are totally incompatible with our international obligations. But even if we put all of the vital environmental considerations to one side, it will cost billions of pounds and take years to reach new oil, so it will do absolutely nothing to lower current prices or help with household bills.

The decision to overturn the ban on fracking is every bit as counterproductive.

It may not directly impact us in Scotland, but we all have an interest in every government across the UK taking actions that help us to decarbonise our economy rather than make us even more dependent on fossil fuels.

Independence by itself will not solve the climate emergency, or Scotland’s role in it. But the powers that it offers would give us the best tools to deliver the just transition we need away from fossil fuels.

Scotland has 25% of Europe’s potential renewable resources – we can be at the forefront of the green revolution that is so badly needed.

A lot has been made of Charles III’s outspoken views on climate.

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His sons have also worked to raise the profile of the global emergency too. I hope that they will use their new positions to ask the right questions and reflect the powerful cry for change from citizens around the world.

Addressing COP26, the late Queen said: “The benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: none of us will live forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children.”

We are at a crossroads, and the days we are living through now will prove to be every bit as historic as the ones that the Queen saw. The decisions that politicians take or avoid today will have consequences that outlast us all.

A lot of the news coverage of the last week has focused on the past. Yet, regardless of what we think of the monarchy, it is the future that we now need to be looking to.

As well as providing a time for reflection, the Queen’s funeral will represent one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders since last year’s COP26 in Glasgow. In the months ahead, they will need to redouble efforts and show an unprecedented level of unity as they tackle the global challenges that we face.