The National:

WESTMINSTER leaders are like buses in Scotland. We go so long without seeing them, and then two come up at once.

This week we have Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer visiting to talk about the Cop26 climate conference and the environment. Yet, for all their rhetoric, neither leader has shown that they are prepared to take the climate action we need.

Johnson has said that climate change and biodiversity are the UK’s “top international priority". But so far, his record has been found wanting.

His government is missing environmental targets and has failed to lay out any credible plans for a green industrial strategy.

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The world is on fire, yet Downing Street is pouring a record £27 billion into new road construction projects and considering proposals to allow new oil drilling in the Cambo oil field. Last week the UK Government’s climate spokesperson, Allegra Stratton (below), set out steps that we can all take to avert the climate crisis.

The National: Allegra Stratton

Some of her advice was very sensible (she told the Independent that people should consider joining the Green Party) but other parts failed to appreciate the scale of the crisis we are facing (such as her now infamous suggestion that we stop rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher).

There are definitely steps that we can all take as individuals, but the real heavy lifting can’t come from people washing dishes. It must come from the corporations who are doing the most damage and the governments who are helping them to do so.

The situation is urgent and, if we are to avert the climate crisis, Cop26 leaders need to go far further than they have been prepared to go so far. In 2018 the United Nations warned that we only had 12 years left to stop the irreversible damage of climate change. We are three years on and the situation has got worse.

It is a global crisis that needs global solutions. But that is no excuse for individual companies and governments to carry on with business as usual. By standing still they are only increasing the scale of the crisis and ensuring that future generations will need to take even more drastic action.

The National: A car drives through flood water in Horse Guards Road in central London

This summer we have seen the impact of flash flooding and heat waves around the world. These kinds of extreme weather events are getting worse, and they are happening more often.

A report from the International Energy Agency in April said that for global temperatures to stay within 1.5C there must be no new investment in fossil fuel projects. Surely that has to be the most basic test for Johnson and his colleagues?

A lot of us are concerned that the conference will be treated as a major greenwashing exercise that talks a good talk but allows us to continue the current trajectory. But even the bit about talking a good talk could be wishful thinking.

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Last year it was revealed that oil giants BP and Shell are among those that have held talks with Downing Street about how they can be part of it. If Cop26 is to live up to the urgency of this moment, then it cannot allow itself to be used as a mouthpiece for polluters.

One of the key reasons that I believe in Scottish independence is because it will let us go further and faster when building the green industrial strategy that we so badly need. Scotland has so much potential to set a positive example. The technology we need already exists: rail, buses, bikes, home insulation, heat pumps, wind turbines, tidal turbines.

So let's put it to use. With the right investment and support we can create a globally significant industry that creates well-paid green jobs and lays the foundation for a more just and prosperous society.

Until Johnson and other leaders pledge to do the same, people will rightly question if they are committed to the climate action we need. Will he really make it his “top international priority” or is it just more of the same hot air?