YESTERDAY’S Programme for Government contains a number of very significant steps forward on climate change and the environment. Even better, there were no new big steps backwards – no new road building, no airport expansion proposals, no suggestion that North Sea oil will flow forever.

The Government is planning to phase out the sale of fossil-fuelled vehicles by 2032, among the most ambitious commitments of its type in the world. A Just Transition Commission is to be created to advise the Government on how to move to “a more resource efficient and sustainable economic model in a fair way”. This signifies an implicit acknowledgement that the oil industry has a limited future shelf life, and critically, recognises that the transition must be fair to workers and communities.

Low emission zones in all our big cities will drastically reduce the 2500 annual death toll from air pollution. There are also plans for a National Investment Bank, which could help fund renewable energy, public transport and desperately-needed social housing.

Tackling the ridiculous mountain of waste we produce is another priority. Following the success of the plastic bag tax, a full deposit and return system for drinks containers will be introduced.

There is a lot to do to make it real. We urgently need to know where the first low emission zone is to go, so that buses, lorries and big vans can all be included by the 2018 deadline. The Just Transition Commission must have the right people, the right remit and the right access. Similarly, the National Investment Bank will need the right priorities.

This package of new promises will make a big difference in helping Scotland deliver its fair share of global efforts to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. Emission savings mean that the draft climate change plan can build in more ambition, meaning the forthcoming Climate Bill can aim much higher than the current lacklustre proposal.

There is competition for greenest ever Programme for Government. The first, in 1999, promised national parks, land reform and a progressive transport bill. The one in 2008, major new laws on climate change, flooding and the marine environment.

But for the overall positive difference that will be made to people’s lives, and to the move from a dirty, wasteful economy to a clean, efficient economy, yesterday’s document is clearly the greenest yet.