‘THERE is a global climate emergency. The evidence is irrefutable. The science is clear. And people have been clear: they expect action … By 2030 it will be too late to limit warming to 1.5C,” were the exact words of the Scottish Government back in 2019.

That year, they became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency and legislation was brought in to hold Scotland to account over its commitments to stop the climate crisis by implementing the ambitious target of a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 based on the 1990 baseline.

As a result, the SNP proudly declared themselves climate leaders, celebrating the fact they lead the world in promises and targets.

We must not forget however, that activists drove this political shift, the school strikes and occupations of the Scottish Parliament brought the issue to the door of the SNP.

They were unable to ignore the wave of young people desperate for our leaders to take action on the climate crisis.

READ MORE: Scottish climate campaigners plead for action from Government

Yesterday’s row-back should not be surprising.

In 2022 the UK Committee on Climate Change told the Scottish Government that their targets were “in danger of being meaningless”. Even then there were no credible plans to reach these targets by 2030.

Instead, they found that plans to rapidly decarbonise heating in buildings “were still wholly inadequate”, Scotland was meeting only half its target to restore 20,000 hectares of peatland a year, and that Scottish ministers were failing to work collaboratively with other UK governments on shared climate strategies.

Scotland’s large oil and gas industry puts it in a unique space to lead the just transition, but they have failed time and time again.

On whether the disastrous Rosebank oil field, which has the potential carbon emissions of the 28 poorest countries combined, should go ahead the Scottish Government was silent until it was too late.

Opposition to the Cambo oil field was only finally delivered by Nicola Sturgeon in 2021 after sustained pressure from activists.

The National: Climate change protest

As of 2023, the SNP have failed to reach eight of the past 12 legally binding climate emissions targets. If they were serious about meeting these targets, we had to see action, but instead we have seen the SNP roll-back on numerous policies.

In recent months alone, plans to phase out gas boilers have been pushed back, as has the deposit return recycling scheme, and the budget for woodland creation was cut by 41%.

Yesterday afternoon, the Scottish Government announced that the 2030 climate targets are to be scrapped, adding to their ever-growing pile of forgotten policies and empty promises.

This is a devastating decision which shows just how far the SNP are from where we so desperately need them to be.

Ambitious action on climate change is non-negotiable for our future. Scotland is in a strong position to deliver a just transition that rapidly delivers for working people – if only it had credible political leadership to do it.

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie 'angry' as climate targets dropped amid criticism

Scotland once gave hope to young people all over the world – it set a target that was in line with science, it was one of the first countries in the world to contribute to the loss and damage fund, and it proudly positioned itself as a climate leader.

We’re now left with a government that neither has a plan to deliver ambitious climate leadership nor cares about the optics of being perceived as being one.

As we head into an election, we will make it felt to the SNP how dissatisfied young people are with their leadership, and how our vision of the future is now at odds with what they are proposing.

In the coming UK General Election, millennials and Gen Z are likely to be, for the first time, the largest voting demographic.

It’s important, now more than ever, that the concerns of young people are heard by the political parties that are going to need our votes in the coming year.

A liveable future with a fair economy and green jobs is achievable, but we need our leaders to be serious about tackling the climate crisis.

There can be no more talk.

This requires radical action, something that increasingly doesn’t seem possible under this SNP government.