ONCE again, the UK finds itself in the midst of an energy crisis, with prices set to rise as we head towards the cold winter months.

The issue continues to blight Scotland, with nearly a quarter of all households in Clackmannanshire living in fuel poverty. Surging gas prices have the potential to make that figure much worse.

The forces driving this crisis are far distant from those who will be most deeply affected. This winter people will, through no fault of their own, will have to choose between heating and eating. That is a deep injustice and it can't continue.

Our reliance natural gas to heat our homes and water compounds the situation. It's a dated and dirty fuel. Moving to cleaner, cheaper, alternatives will play a key role in our response to the climate emergency and tackling fuel poverty.

The recent announcement of the Heat in Buildings Strategy, delivered as part of the cooperation agreement between the Greens and the Scottish Government, couldn't come at a more crucial time. Announced by Patrick Harvie, my party colleague and minister for zero carbon buildings, puts decarbonisation at its heart.

The target is to make sure that by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions from homes and buildings are 68 percent lower than they were in 2020. That means we need to ensure that more than a million homes convert to zero emission methods of heating this decade. There's no doubt that this is a huge transition, but it is also essential.

Poor energy efficiency in our homes is also a key driver of fuel poverty and the strategy paves the way for us to make progress there as well. Over the next five years there will be at least £1.8billion invested in heat and energy efficiency projects across Scotland.

Not only will this help slash fuel poverty, it will also play a big part in our efforts to meet climate targets. On top of that the funding will help to support the construction and maintenance industries supporting a green recovery from the pandemic for Scotland.

In terms of addressing the problem at source, the reliance on fossil fuels to heat our homes, the strategy also sets a clear direction of travel.

Support will be provided to help household switch to zero-emissions heating, while £400m over the duration of this parliament will be invested in large-scale heat projects that supply whole communities. An additional £200m has been committed to decarbonising social housing.

This is an ambitious strategy. It must be to match the scale of the problem it aims to tackle. But it's also a prime example of how tackling the climate emergency, while no doubt challenging, will help us build a better society for all of us.

No one should have to struggle to heat their home. No one should be forced into fuel poverty because of the whims of an international market they have absolutely no control over

Holyrood doesn't have the powers to fix the global energy market, but this strategy is the first step on a journey to a warmer, greener future.