NOT many 16-year-olds make it on to the cover of Time magazine, but Greta Thunberg is not an average teenager. She is pictured on the latest Time cover with the headline: “Next Generation Leaders – The Teenager on Strike for the Planet”.

Thunberg famously started the schools climate strike movement in her native Sweden. It has become a global phenomenon. She tours world capitals chiding and encouraging climate action in equal measure.

In recent months has she addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice and told the World Economic Forum in Davos: “Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope’. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

READ MORE: Climate emergency: Plans set out on how Scotland should respond

The world’s leading climate experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say we are only 12 years away from not being able to control global warming. If we do not limit rising global temperatures to between 1.5C and 2C the worsening climate events including, droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty will accelerate, impacting on hundreds of millions of people.

This week we learned that nearly a quarter of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is considered unstable and the rate of ice melt has accelerated in the last decade. The new assessment using 25 years of satellite data shows that some of the biggest glaciers on the continent have thinned by more than 120m in places. Tens of billions of tonnes of melted ice is contributing to rising surface of the world’s oceans and is already at the upper end of projections.

You know that things are getting serious when large corporations join environmental activists and scientists in calling for the US administration to “put in place a long-term federal policy as soon as possible to protect against the worst impacts”. Multinationals such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell, DuPont, Dominion Energy and Ford have set up the group CEO Climate Dialogue and are supporting cuts to US emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gas by 80% or more by 2050. Coming from a country where climate change denial is still prevalent, even at the highest levels of government, this has to be seen as progress. However the United Nations has warned that governments around the world must reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

READ MORE: Scotland's 2045 target is not soon enough to solve climate emergency

UN Secretary Antonio Guterres warned this week that nations are not delivering on their 2016 Paris Agreement commitments to keep global temperature rise below 2C above pre-industrial levels. On a visit to South Pacific island nations particularly threatened by rising sea levels – including Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Fiji – he said: “We are not on track to achieve the objectives defined in the Paris Agreement ... and the paradox is that as things are getting worse on the ground, political will seems to be fading.”

One country where political will is far from fading is Scotland. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was the first head of government internationally to announce a climate emergency and her administration has just set a target for net-zero greenhouse emissions for 2045 which will see Scotland become carbon neutral by 2040. In addition Scotland will reduce emissions by 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, which must rate as the most ambitious statutory targets in the world for these years.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s two largest cities are pursuing hugely ambitious climate targets with Edinburgh and Glasgow both aiming to become the first in the UK to reach a net-zero carbon emissions target and to beat the 2045 overall target set out by the Scottish government.

READ MORE: Glasgow pledges to be first carbon neutral city in UK

No wonder Greta Thunberg has been tweeting about the example being set in Scotland. She will be joining UN Secretary General Guterres and Scottish Government Minister Ben Macpherson at a large-scale environmental conference in Vienna on May 28 and 29.

The R20 Austrian World Summit, hosted by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger brings together political and business leaders, representatives from nations, regions and cities, and the general public to do more to improve our planet and usher in a new era of carbon neutrality and prosperity.

READ MORE: Children on Bute to lead climate change protests

Hopefully the global leadership on climate action being shown by Scotland can help inspire others. There is no other alternative.

When world leaders meet at the UN hosted Climate Action Summit in September in New York there can be no prevarication or procrastination. We are fast approaching the point of no return in our global climate emergency.

It’s time for all countries to play their part.