LET me be clear: I really admire Greta Thunberg and think her contribution to the campaign for climate justice has been huge. She is an articulate and passionate advocate for the radical action urgently needed if we are to save our planet.

As such she is quite entitled to criticise world governments – any government – for not doing enough to pursue the policies needed to have any real effect. That includes her right to criticise the Scottish government. It always makes me nervous when independence supporters leap on any criticism of the Scottish Government as somehow an act of hostility against independence.

No government gets everything right all the time and we should be able to point to instances when the Scottish Government has fallen short of expectations without being accused of some sort of betrayal.

So I was disappointed to read the BBC’s report on its interview with Thunberg which stated that she dismissed suggestions that Scotland was a world leader in the actions it was taking to combat the terrible effects of the climate change crisis.

Those suggestions were based on a number of important initiatives passed by the Scottish parliament. We were, for instance, the first country in the world to officially recognise the climate change emergency.

The National: Holyrood chamber

And Holyrood passed pioneering legislation to set a legally binding target date of 2045 to reach net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases. That’s five years ahead of the UK target and ahead of targets set by the vast majority of countries, including Canada, China, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland and the US.

And we have an excellent record in making good use of our plentiful renewable energy resources. So much so that in 2020, 97.4% of our electricity demands were met from renewable sources. So, although of course more can always be done, it seemed to me the description of world leading could accurately be attached to Scotland.

How wrong I was, allegedly. There on the BBC website one of the main headlines put me right: "Greta Thunberg: Scotland not a world leader on climate change". To be honest, I was surprised that Thunberg even knew enough about Scotland’s contribution to pass judgment. After all, there are a lot of countries in the world to keep track off.

But when I read the story there were a few problems. Most importantly, Thunberg didn’t mention Scotland at all. The interview had been edited into sections with a written headline in a graphic slide before each section.

So after the written headline "Is Scotland a world leader on climate?" Thunberg states: "No I mean I don’t … of course there are countries ... or, I mean … there are some who do a bit more than certain others but then again if we look at it in a broader perspective I think we can safely say there are no countries at least in the global north that are doing even close to what would be needed.”

I don’t know about you but I’m not convinced that quote justifies the headline on the website. It’s not surprising that Thunberg doesn’t believe any country is doing enough to combat the climate emergency. This, after all, is a young woman who refuses to travel by plane. She has pledged to never buy new clothes again. There is nothing that will ever be enough for this pioneering activist.

But she does admit that some countries do more than others, and to me there’s a clear inference that Scotland is one of those countries, since Scotland was the subject of the question. It’s hard to tell, of course, since we don’t get to hear the question being asked. It would be helpful if we could.

We might not know the exact wording of the question but we do know how much the mainstream media hate Scotland being well regarded for any reason and how eager it is to report something – anything – which casts it in a bad light.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

So the BBC’s story was aimed very directly at embarrassing the Scottish Government and the First Minister. How very dare they talk up Scotland’s contribution to combatting climate crisis? In their eagerness to take Scotland down a peg or two the BBC entirely twists her words to mean something she did not intend. Rather than aiming a broadside at Holyrood she was instead making the point that no country had yet done enough, a point most people would accept. That’s pretty much the point of the COP26 conference being held in Glasgow soon.

The writer of the story posted a tweet which edited Thunberg’s reply to the question “Do you see Scotland as a world leader?” to the single word, “No”. If you listen to the interview it’s pretty clear she doesn’t give a simple “no” as her answer.

And, of course, the rest of the mainstream media jumped aboard the “Let’s Rubbish Scotland Express”. The Daily Telegraph virtually repeats the BBC headline, The Sun suggests Thunberg “slaps down Nicola Sturgeon’s boast …”; the Daily Mail: “Greta Thunberg says Nicola Sturgeon’s government is NOT a world leader in climate change”.

I’ve written before about the Scottish media’s delight in stories which do Scotland down. It’s a trait the media now shares with opposition politicians who see their role as criticising the government no matter what.

LOOK, for example at the reaction to the power-sharing deal recently agreed by the SNP and the Scottish Greens and overwhelmingly endorsed by the members of both parties. Now you might think the partnership –the first time Green politicians have held government ministerial posts anywhere in the UK – sends just the right signals on the eve of COP26. You might think that if anyone has a valuable contribution to make in the climate crisis response it is Green politicians. You might even think it praiseworthy that the Scottish Government has listened to opposition demands that it must have a clear, official majority to pursue its mandate for a second independence referendum.

Not according to Tory or Labour MSPs, who described the deal as either a coalition of chaos or coalition of cuts. Both descriptions are inaccurate on two counts, which is not bad going for soundbites that contains just three words each.

First the partnership is not a coalition. Then there is a complete absence of chaos in putting the deal into practice. And the only cuts that are looming are those imposed by the Conservative government at Westminster and meekly accepted by a gutless Labour party.

The Tories’ sneering, dismissive attitude – and that of their Union-defending brothers and sisters at arms – is only to be expected from those for whom the task of saving the world from global warming pales into insignificance compared to their mission to stop Scotland even voting on having control over its own future.

I’m sure Greta Thunberg is now scratching her head wondering how she became embroiled in this row. The point she wanted to make was that governments all over the world have not yet properly responded to a crisis which could destroy the planet and that the COP26 conference in Glasgow will not significantly improve matters unless it treats climate change as a crisis.

Instead her words have been subsumed into the grand plan adopted by the BBC and most of Scotland’s mainstream media to use any weapon at their disposal to ridicule Scotland’s aspiration to do good things at a time when they are desperately needed. Thank God they weren’t around in the 18th century … the world would never have been allowed to hear of the Scottish Enlightenment.