WHEN the Scottish Greens joined the Scottish Government in 2021 we accelerated action on the climate crisis.

We expanded free bus travel to children and young people, introduced the most generous grants in the UK for clean heat, and massively increased investment in restoring Scotland’s natural environment, recycling, and in cycling and walking infrastructure.

We are also taking forward a Circular Economy Bill, a Natural Environment Bill and a Heat and Buildings Bill, to establish a new legislative platform for environmental progress.

This was the change Scotland needed. But as we reach the halfway mark of this parliament, it’s clear that we must do more and act faster.

For decades Scottish Greens have called for urgent, transformative action across the world, the UK and in Scotland.

And while Scotland has pressed on in developing its renewable energy industry, largely decarbonising our power sector and establishing us as a world leader in this green industry of the future, progress has been slower in addressing emissions from transport, farming and land use in particular.

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That’s why we have worked hard with our SNP colleagues to develop a new package of measures to accelerate climate action, particularly in these areas, and building on the already ambitious programme that we have set out for the next two years.

It will see vital new initiatives taken forward. Such as the development of a carbon tax for large landowners, a massive scaling-up in the deployment of electric car chargers, new measures to support farmers and land managers to cut emissions and restore vital peatlands.

It will also see a new route map developed and published in the autumn to help cut our dependency on cars, including by supporting the roll-out of traffic management measures like congestion charging, which have been shown in places like London to be vital to creating modern, green cities that are easy to move around.

This is the difference that having Scottish Greens in the room makes.

It’s constructive, grown-up politics in action. But there are limits to what we can achieve as a devolved government within the UK. It’s also in sharp contrast to Westminster’s approach to climate change in recent years, which has had enormous consequences for our own ability to deliver.

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Instead of keeping up with others like the US and the EU, who are scaling up investment in the green transition, Tory Westminster is cutting our budgets, U-turning on vital policies, and even trying to get new coal mines opened and oil and gas drilling expanded.

And there is no reason to believe that Keir Starmer’s Labour will be any different after they axed the only major climate policy they had.

I am frustrated, angry, and disappointed. Anyone who cares about the fate of our environment must be too. Scotland, the UK, the world … we should all be further ahead than we are. But that only hardens my resolve in getting there.

That’s why the Scottish Greens are here, that’s why we joined the Government, and that’s what we will keep on fighting for. Day in, day out.

We are confident these game-changing climate actions will see us on track for 2045, and it should be abundantly clear that this step-change in policy and acceleration of climate action is only happening because Scottish Greens are in the room.

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The First Minister’s recent climate summit with Chris Stark from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) left the leaders of all parties at Holyrood in no doubt about the urgency of the task facing us all, so it is now incumbent on them to be mindful of that to work together with us on a solution.

They cannot insist on climate action one minute, only to oppose those very same measures the next. We on the other hand have chosen to embrace the CCC’s recommendations from carbon budgets to taking on the biggest challenges before us, because that is the best and fastest way forward.

It was a risk for both sides entering into our cooperation agreement. But what our party, with two junior ministers, have managed to bring to the table in under three years is a change in mindset, of pace and now action that benefits us all.

Imagine only successive governments across the UK had chosen to act on such green policies a decade ago.

We remain constrained on what further action we can take because we do not have the powers of an independent country and frustratingly, debilitatingly remain shackled to a wasteful UK Government that is pulling in the opposite direction on climate.

But with these new commitments the Scottish Government is demonstrating genuine climate leadership with action, determination and a clear route map for whoever forms the next UK Government to follow.