WITH a cost-of-living crisis fuelled by soaring oil and gas prices and war, there's never been a more important time to accelerate our pathway toward a just transition away from fossil fuels.

The UK Government's Spring Statement did little to help the millions of people who are being punished by escalating energy prices and offered nothing to tackle the climate crisis.

Energy prices were already high, but they have skyrocketed over recent months. It could not be happening at a worse time. The choice between heating and eating is already a real and horrific one for far too many families.

Even before this current crisis, thousands of people in Clackmannanshire were estimated to be living in fuel poverty. One third of those living in fuel poverty were older households, and half were in social housing.

Crucially, it was already people on low incomes who were hit the hardest, and this is only set to get worse. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that low-income single-adult households could soon be forced to spend most of their income on gas and electricity.

Yet, the UK government's solution is to double down on the same failed strategy that has led us here. Our communities deserve better than false solutions.

The UN Secretary General António Guterres has described the reliance on fossil fuels as "mutually assured destruction." He's right. Our energy policy cannot be based on endlessly pumping ever more carbon into our environment.

Nuclear is not the solution either. There is nothing safe, secure, or reliable about nuclear power. It is the last thing we need. It is costly, dangerous and leaves a toxic legacy for centuries. It would add extra costs on to household bills, and, as Hinckley Point shows, it would take years to get on stream.

We didn't arrive at the current situation overnight. It is the result of decades of bad decisions. For our futures' sake, we have no choice but to ensure a speedy and just transition to renewables.

The opportunity to do this is right on our doorstep. We already have 25 per cent of all the offshore renewable potential in Europe. We have the resources, technology, and the skills, but, if we are to realise our potential and create thousands of cleaner, greener jobs, it will need investment and support.

And with Greens in government we are taking big steps in the right direction. We are doubling onshore wind capacity and investing record amounts in marine energy.

We are ensuring a positive and just transition for workers, with a £500million deal for the north east, to support the communities and workers who have relied on the fossil fuel industries for work to move to the green energy industries of the future.

And my Green colleague Patrick Harvie is leading the way in reducing emissions from our homes through the Heat in Building Strategy. Our ambitious vision for cleaner and greener homes will help remove poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty.

But of course, people facing fuel poverty need urgent support. That's why despite Westminster doubling down on cuts to Universal Credit, here in the Scottish Parliament we're doubling the Scottish Child Payment to help struggling families. But we can, and must, do more.

Let's be clear. We are in a desperate and urgent situation for people and the planet. All governments must do everything they can to deliver the positive change that is needed.

There really is no time to waste.