LAST week, the Met Office issued its first ever red alert heat warning.

As predicted, temperature records were smashed across England, Wales, and Scotland.

Towns in the South of England were registering over 40 degrees Celsius, and here in Scotland, temperatures peaked in Roxburghshire at 35.1 degrees – the highest daily temperature ever recorded in Scotland.

Trains were cancelled as tracks overheated or buckled. Fire services declared major incidents after a surge in fires.

It should not be this hot. Put simply, these extreme temperatures are directly caused by climate change.

Scientists, activists, and communities on the frontline of the climate emergency have been warning about the devastating impact of climate change for decades.

Yet, for too long, successive governments have failed to act with the urgency we need to turn the tide. We need serious leadership and transformative action, to heal our hurting planet.

But instead, we have a Tory Government in Westminster with their heads in the sand.

None of the Tory leadership candidates are taking this crisis remotely seriously. They are all committed to the same climate vandalism and an expansion of the fossil fuel extraction which has brought us to this devastating point.

So, it's hardly surprising that in the same week we saw the devastating reality of climate breakdown on our doorsteps, Rishi Sunak proposed a halt on all new wind farms.

The Tories are playing games as the planet burns.

But it doesn't need to be this way. Together, we can build something better.

Last summer, the Scottish Greens entered government. Our agenda was simple – we wanted to accelerate Scotland's journey to a fairer, greener, independent future.

We wanted to see equality and justice at the heart of meaningful, bold action to address our climate and nature emergencies. We wanted change.

I'm proud of what we've been able to achieve so far. We have delivered record funding for recycling, renewables, and active travel, as well as introducing free bus travel for young people and £1.8billion for energy-efficient homes and buildings.

And, just last week my colleague Lorna Slater announced funding for dozens of climate projects including the Natural Devon Project which will help manage flood waters while enhancing nature on the River Devon.

But all often, we're left mitigating mistakes made in Downing Street.

Only 160,000 people across the UK will have a say on who becomes the next prime minister. But with both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak set on rolling back rather than ramping up action to address climate change, the future's not looking bright.

But we have an opportunity to change course. Here in Scotland, we are in no doubt of the changes we need to protect our planet for future generations.

But with Westminster in denial, we need the powers of an independent country to take the bold action we need.

Climate breakdown isn't an abstract future event. It is here, now.

If we fail to rise to the challenge, 2022 will be remembered as the coolest summer of the rest of our lives.