ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roseanna Cunningham launched a scathing attack on the Scottish Greens, claiming they had “sat on their hands” during the final vote on the Climate Change Bill.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie rejected the criticism, accusing the MSP of hypocrisy for talking up her government’s climate credentials at “a conference sponsored by Heathrow and BP.”

Last month, just hours before the vote on the new environmental legislation, Scottish ministers toughened up their targets, committing the Government to cutting emissions by 75% by 2030.

The last-minute tweak was backed by SNP, Tory, Labour and LibDem MSPs, but the six Scottish Greens MSPs, who had called for a new target of 80%, abstained saying the Government wasn’t being ambitious enough.

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Addressing delegates yesterday, Cunningham said voters “can’t trust the Greens”.

She said the legislation was “the most ambitious climate change targets anywhere in the world”.

“No if, no buts, no caveats – our ambition is truly world leading.

“The people of Scotland know who they can trust to provide leadership.

“They can’t trust Labour. And they certainly can’t trust the Tories.

“Last week they had their chance to step up to the plate and they failed. And people can’t trust the Greens either.”

She added: “At this crucial moment in Scotland’s climate change journey, when it came time to pass those targets into law, they sat on their hands.

“So conference, let me offer this advice to you, and to every member of the SNP.

The National:

“Lend your vote to the Greens? So they can sit on their hands in the face of world leading ambition? I don’t think so!

“If you want a government delivering real action and serious ambition, if you want to make every vote count, then make every vote an SNP vote.”

“There is no other way.”

Responding to the comments, Harvie (above) said: “The Environment Secretary is taking pot shots at us from a conference sponsored by Heathrow and BP. It is the height of hypocrisy.”

He added: “She knows why we couldn’t back her Climate Bill – it lacked any meaningful action to address the fact we only have 10 years to tackle the climate emergency.

“That means she should stop listening to BP on how to reach net zero, and start listening to the climate strikers, who yesterday said they would not put up with the SNP’s ‘blatant hypocrisy and disregard of our futures’.

“The SNP need to stop courting the world’s biggest climate polluters and take a look at our Scottish Green New Deal, which offers the practical solutions needed to cut our emissions fast.”

In her speech, Cunningham also announced new measures to help fight global warming – but warned Brexit would “hold back Scotland’s environmental ambitions”.

“We cannot allow Brexit to happen. Scotland voted to remain in the EU and we must do all we can to keep Scotland in the EU.”

She went on: “But if it does happen – I promise this – we will protect Scotland’s environmental standards, we will never engage in a race to the bottom and we will not sell out Scotland’s environment to dodgy Tory trade deals.”

She also announced a £1 million climate fund for small towns and the establishment of a Scotland office for the Committee on Climate Change.