SCOTLAND’S response to the global climate emergency must be “hardwired into our national psyche”,Roseanna Cunningham has said.

Speaking at Holyrood yesterday, the Environment Secretary said that evidence of climate change is “irrefutable” and said future generations would have to pay the price if action is not taken now.

At the SNP conference last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency and said Scotland would continue to “lead by example” on tackling the issue.

“Scotland has always been an innovator. This is one of our great strengths,” she said.

“Responding to the climate emergency will not be easy, but Scotland is not in the business of taking the easy way out.

“Scotland’s response to the climate emergency must be hardwired into our national psyche.

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She added: “We must take this journey together, seize the economic opportunities available to us and redefine what world leadership means, not just as a government but as a country.

“Scotland has declared a global climate emergency and now Scotland must act as one to safeguard our planet for future generations.”

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government agreed to a target of net-zero emissions by 2045 – an aim described by experts as the “most ambitious in the world”.

It followed recommendations set out by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that Scotland meet the target five years ahead of the UK in 2050.

Last week, the Government scrapped plans to cut the amount of tax paid by passengers flying from Scottish airports. The move would have seen a reduction in air departure tax (ADT) by 50% before being abolished altogether.

Cunningham outlined the Government’s decision to change its approach on ADT, along with the announcement of a deposit return scheme, rail-freight industry funding, supporting low-carbon farming practices, and granting funding for e-bikes, as steps towards combating climate change.

The Cabinet secretary also urged people from across the country to consider what measures can be taken to cut down on waste.

“This must be a shared national endeavour,” she said. “We all need to think more about how we can make our lives more sustainable, cutting down on waste and excess.

“We will be consulting widely over the summer to feed into the update of the climate change plan and let everyone have their say on what needs to happen across Scotland in response to the climate emergency.”

Mark Ruskell of the Scottish Greens welcomed the statement and said his party would only support the Scottish Government’s budget if it had climate change at its heart.

“I’d like to make it clear that the Greens cannot commit to negotiations over the next annual budget unless it has climate change and a Green New Deal at its heart,” he said.