GLOBAL environmental leaders at the UN Climate Summit in New York were told Scotland is setting the “gold standard” on climate action.

SNP MEP Dr Aileen McLeod used the trip to outline Scotland’s “bold plans” and said there is an emerging recognition that other nations must follow its ambition and leadership.

She spoke as one of the UN’s top diplomats on climate change hailed Scotland for leading the way with its new climate legislation.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa tweeted yesterday: “Congratulations, Scotland, for demonstrating bold leadership on #ClimateAction passing a law to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and towards becoming a net-zero society by 2045. This is an inspiring example of the level of ambition we need globally to achieve the #ParisAgreement.”

The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Bill, which was passed on Wednesday, set an ambitious new target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.

McLeod’s itinerary included meetings and events with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his predecessor Ban Ki-Moon; the UN Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit; and the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development as well as Espinosa. McLeod said: “Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our age and it’s clear that Scotland is setting the gold standard and gaining international recognition as a leader when it comes to climate action.

“In meeting after meeting I was encouraged by the reaction to Scotland’s far-reaching aims which will help to end our contribution to climate change within a generation.

“Scotland is playing its part in tackling this global crisis but action must work across borders and the world must act together and follow the trajectory that Scotland is setting. It is clear that we need more international co-operation, not less.”

SNP MP Drew Hendry yesterday pointed out that Scotland’s Climate Bill had been passed on the same day the UK Government revealed its Hinkley Point nuclear project will cost an additional £2.9 billion.

The party’s Westminster energy spokesperson said: “While the Scottish Government is committed to tackling climate change on a global scale, the UK Government is prioritising and pumping money into a failing nuclear project that will have a detrimental impact on the environment and consumers alike.”

Schoolchildren and students demonstrated outside Holyrood yesterday saying the bill does not go far enough.

Meanwhile, Glasgow has been set a target of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. The move follows the council’s declaration of a climate emergency in May this year. Extinction Rebellion activists staged during a City Administration Committee meeting where the target was set.