SCOTLAND'S efforts to tackle climate change have stalled, environmental campaigners have warned, after ministers slashed spending on green initiatives by tens of millions of pounds.

A new budget analysis by campaign group WWF shows overall spending to tackle climate change will fall by £45.8 million in the next financial year, a cut of almost 10 per cent.

Huge cuts in support for renewable power and energy efficiency schemes have undermined Scottish Government claims to have put climate change at the heart of its policy making, Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland said.

He called for sweeping changes to John Swinney's budget before it is approved by MSPs next month.

Mr Banks said: "These new figures undermine the Scottish Government’s claim to have embedded climate change in its draft budget.

"With the Paris conference having demonstrated increased international commitment to tackling climate change, we should be stepping up our action not pulling back."

It comes as experts from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology said the recent floods, which caused widespread damage to properties and transport networks, were linked to climate change.

Labour's environment spokeswoman Sarah Boyack said the government's failure to invest in energy efficiency was adding to the number of people in fuel poverty.

She also warned its plan to cut taxes for airlines would further damage efforts to tackle climate change.

The Scottish Government's own figures show climate change funding is set to fall from £502m this year to £456m next.

The biggest single reduction, of nearly £30m, is in cash to develop new green community energy and heating schemes, develop offshore wind power and insulate homes.

Scottish Enterprise, the government's economic development agency, has also had its renewable energy budget cut by £2.6m.

Other projects to lose out include the government's "zero waste" drive to improve recycling rates.

Mr Banks said cuts to energy efficiency programmes were "particularly disappointing" after being classified as a National Infrastructure Priority by ministers.

"As the draft budget is finalised over the coming weeks, the Scottish Government should use this opportunity to increase its investment in building a low carbon economy," he said.

WWF's analysis comes days after Finance Secretary Mr Swinney confirmed that renewable energy firms in Scotland faced rates increases of £10m after reliefs were scrapped in the budget.

The move sparked accusations of hypocrisy when Nicola Sturgeon launched an attack on UK Government cuts to green power subsidies during First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

Ms Sturgeon also faced criticism last month when she talked up Scotland's record during the Paris climate summit, despite her government missing its last four annual targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ms Boyack said: "It just goes to show that when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is the SNP Government are full of warm words but no action on climate change.

"We have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society from the impacts of climate change, whether its investing in energy efficiency, green jobs or sustainable transport.

"The SNP Government are failing in that responsibility."

Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod said support for renewable energy had been reduced as investors lost confidence in the sector because of UK Government cuts to subsidies.

She said: "Over the last year we have repeatedly lobbied the UK Government, including direct representations to the Prime Minister, to reverse their changes to renewable energy policies.

"Regrettably they have not done so and we have had to revise our budgets relating to renewable energy.

"Despite this we remain absolutely committed to continuing action to tackle climate change, delivering our ambitious targets on emissions reductions and protecting Scotland’s environment, with a £13.3m overall increase in budgets across other areas."

Energy efficiency budgets identified as helping to tackle fuel poverty have been cut by 13 per cent, from £119m to £103m.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the sum was a "significant commitment in light of ongoing spending pressures and UK Government cuts".