RISHI Sunak was forced into making a speech yesterday because its content had already been leaked.

To summarise that content, Sunak is rowing back on the UK’s climate change commitments because, he says, we are already ahead of the worldwide pack on this issue. That is despite the fact that this government’s own Climate Change Committee has made it clear that existing commitments are way short of those required to achieve net-zero by 2050.

Bizarrely, Sunak claimed his speech was not political and as such created, in his opinion, a new era of political honesty. Those claims were amongst the many abuses of the truth that the speech contained.

READ MORE: 'Mon the independence': Young Scots react to Rishi Sunak's net-zero betrayal

Another such abuse was that he wants an honest debate on this issue. His legislation clamping down on protest suggests otherwise. As is typical from a fan of the far-right, he wants a debate so long as all those taking part agree with him. His description of those who think climate change is a serious threat as “extremists” does not suggest a willingness on his part to embrace a range of views on this issue.

Instead, three things characterised the speech. The first was the absence of any new money to solve this crisis – a small increase in the support for those installing heat pumps apart.

In the face of the biggest climate, biodiversity, economic and social crisis that the planet has ever faced, Sunak is determined that the government should be notable by its absence from any arena where necessary change will actually take place.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has weakened a host of net zero pledges (Justin Tallis/PA)

The second was his emphasis on the market. Apparently, consumers are to decide the pace at which climate change will be tackled. This, however, is impossible. As an example, those who buy electric vehicles are dependent upon the creation of charging networks, and ultimately those require public investment, but he is not going to provide it. The consumer cannot decide in that case.

Third, there were straightforward misrepresentations of facts. No one has proposed a tax on meat. Nor has there been a serious proposal for each house to have seven recycling bins. There has never been an intention to enforce car sharing. And there is no tax on flying (although there should be).

Despite that, Sunak claimed that he was abolishing each of these. Those claims were false.

Most particularly, though, he claimed that the UK is on track with its climate change commitments. Its own Climate Change Committee strongly disagrees.

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Sunak’s new politics is, then, the same as his old one: it is all based on repeating claims that are not true as often as possible.

Where does that leave Scotland? First of all, it makes clear that a vote for the Tories is a vote for climate disaster.

Second, it also makes clear that there is no new politics of honesty as yet, however, much we might beg for it.

Third, given that Labour has already said that it will not reinstate all the abandoned targets, this provides the SNP and other pro-independence parties with an opportunity to promote a serious agenda for both climate and economic change in Scotland.

Sunak made no proper mention of any new commitment to wind or tidal power yesterday. Scotland can, however, deliver far more of both of these. Together they could form the foundation of the prosperity of an independent Scotland. That, of course, is no doubt the reason why Sunak did not mention them.

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If, however, those parties seeking independence want to create real division between them and Labour and the Tories, this is the fault line that they will have to exploit.

Net zero may look like a threat to a small-minded English politician like Sunak. It should look like an opportunity to anyone who believes in Scotland.

For Scotland, renewable energy will be the foundation of its prosperity, the basis of support for its currency, a major source of exports, and the way in which a lower cost of living can be delivered. Scotland may be unique in this way, but the good politician seeks to exploit unique opportunities.

Scotland needs to demand better and more investment when it comes to net zero. Anyone who believes in an independent Scotland has to say so, time and again. Sunak won’t deliver, and Labour is dithering. That is the fault line in Scottish politics now. It is there to be exploited.