‘ACT as you would in a crisis.” That was Greta Thunberg’s advice to governments this week. You’d think, given most of them now acknowledge that crisis, that advice would be obvious. Unfortunately, governments don’t always take the advice presented to them, even when that advice is made repeatedly.

The Scottish Government also received some advice this week, from its Infrastructure Commission. Given that ministers in most governments like to do photo-ops wearing hi-vis and hardhats, breaking ground at the latest “shovel ready” project or cutting ribbons at bridges, roundabouts and ringroads, you’d think that the commission’s report would get Scotland’s politicians very excited.

For the SNP, the infrastructure project they’re most proud of is the Queensferry Crossing (below). They think it’s “iconic”, and they told us it would increase use of public transport and active travel over the Forth. Instead we now know there have been a million extra car journeys.

The head of maintenance at Transport Scotland has already said the bridge has “more traffic than it can cope with”.

The National:

Just because something is expensive and looks impressive doesn’t mean it will succeed. And what will the Scottish Government do now? Build another bridge? Or will ministers finally recognise what transport experts and green campaigners have said for years, that building more road infrastructure doesn’t reduce congestion – it creates it.

The Infrastructure Commission was set up to provide independent, informed advice on where ministers should invest public money. Inconveniently for the SNP, it more or less backed up what the Scottish Greens have been telling them for decades: that we must accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and that means a presumption against building more road capacity, but maintaining existing assets instead; it means electric cars won’t fix all our problems, and we’ll need to actively cut demand for road space by investing in public transport, walking and cycling. It’s not rocket science, in fact it reads very much like our Scottish Green New Deal, or the last dozen Green manifestos.

The Scottish Greens have extracted hundreds of millions of extra funding on low-carbon infrastructure in the years we have been involved in budget negotiations with the SNP. The proportion has gone from 21% in 2017-18 to 32% in 2019-20, but the Government has been utterly resistant to the case for spending less on the polluting infrastructure at the same time. They have treated our advice selectively, but now we’ve been backed by their own advisers less than a year after the First Minister declared a climate emergency. International research shows at least 70% of the country’s infrastructure spend should be spent on low-carbon projects if we are to take that emergency seriously. But what would that look like? Clean and green infrastructure means practical things that would make a difference to people’s everyday lives.

READ MORE: Greens to oppose flyover plan for busy Edinburgh roundabout

Public transport that serves all our communities, not just in urban areas and not just for the weekday rush hours. Retrofitting of homes to make them warm and efficient. Using our land in ways that support rural jobs by reforesting Scotland to the European average, rather than leaving a fifth of our landmass for a wealthy few to shoot grouse.

The Infrastructure Commission’s remit was to provide a 30-year strategy, but if the Scottish Government is to listen to its other advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, it will know that the next 12 months is absolutely critical. The CCC said the next year is “likely to determine the direction of the next 25 years”, warning “a step change in ambition is needed”.

We are in an emergency after all. The Scottish Government accepts this, and uses that language, but still finds it hard to join the dots to the action that’s required.

This week at First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon responded to a question on the Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation against new roadbuilding with muted general acceptance, accompanied by sagely nodding from SNP backbenchers.

However, when my colleague Alison Johnstone mentioned a specific example – the case for scrapping the ludicrous £120 million proposal to turn the Sheriffhall roundabout near Edinburgh into a spaghetti junction – there were howls of outrage from those same backbenchers, reacting as though she’d suggested turning every bit of tarmac into allotments.

Even the Sheriffhall proposal itself admits it will lead to more traffic, not less. Clearly that £120m could be better spent on giving those communities an alternative to sitting in a traffic jam. Things like extended bus routes, park and ride facilities and segregated bike lanes.

Things that make travelling between Midlothian and Edinburgh a more pleasant and less polluting experience.

It’s time to get real on what tackling the climate emergency means, and time for us all to let ministers know that we don’t want promises of endless roadbuilding from them, but instead genuine progress toward a sustainable future.