AS PRESSURE and protests mount around the world on the need for climate action I recently moved a motion to declare a Climate Emergency in the Scottish Parliament.

It was voted down by other MSPs, who failed to recognise that we have to plan today for the move away from fossil fuels.

However, the signs are good that the debate is starting to shift and there is real momentum towards a greener economy.

Last week, the UK Climate Change Committee’s crunch report came out making strong recommendations on our long term climate targets and the actions needed to get there.

I have been making the case in parliament for several years now that we have to set a net zero target where we balance the carbon we emit into the atmosphere with what we store through forestry and other ‘carbon sinks’.

The committee has recommended a net zero by 2045 target, which is getting closer to what is necessary to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees. Go beyond that and we face catastrophic consequences.

Until a couple of months ago the Scottish Government claimed such a target was not credible, now they have agreed to adopt that target into law.

It’s a step in the right direction, but setting targets is only half the story, we need the actions from government to back this up and that means a programme of change.

The next 10 years will be critical, this is the window the scientists have given us to ramp up action and yet the plans that are in place won’t get us far enough.

Governments need a new approach – a Green New Deal where investment, incentives and planning can build a low carbon economy, creating new jobs and leaving no one behind.

Longannet is a good example of where long term planning for its closure did not take place, instead politicians tried to keep the plant open despite the inevitability of its demise, when they should have been supporting workers to get into new industries to replace it.

Years later, that electric train manufacturer Talgo’s plan to re-locate to Longannet, creating hundreds of jobs, is great news.

We need to plan around a wealth of other opportunities in renewables, farming, forestry, transport and housing too.

Government has a big role to play in making sure Scotland is ahead of the curve, investing into research as well as directly taking a stake in new business ventures.

The proposed Scottish National Investment Bank is one way for government to do that, but it needs to be given a clear purpose to tackle the climate emergency.

Living in the low carbon world of 2030 and 2045, life must be easier and fairer. New infrastructure such as a Dunfermline to Alloa rail route must be put in place to give more people better access to greener transport.

Cold, damp homes heated with fossil fuels must be a thing of the past while our land must be managed in a way that keeps carbon out of the atmosphere. This is the future we must strive for, the alarm bells rang a long time ago, it’s time to start moving fast.