SOCIAL movements need to “seize power” to halt the climate change crisis after decades of political failure, the co-convener of the Scottish Greens will say today.

Maggie Chapman will tell her party’s spring conference in Edinburgh that the threat to the planet and to society demands an urgent and “radical” response.

She will also praise the thousands of children who have started walking out of school as part of a global climate protest, some of whom will speak at the conference tomorrow.

The walk-outs have been inspired by 15-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg, who has become famous for telling world leaders to “panic”, not carry on as if everything is normal.

Ms Chapman, the current rector of Aberdeen University, will tell party members: “The age of individual action is dead; now is the time for social movements to seize power.

“We must act now in the face of the climate crisis. We have a huge opportunity to support the school strikes as a social movement.

“Our young people are leading the way in challenging the systems and structures of our politics and our economy. We must listen to them.”

“We’ve had 40 years of failed top down approaches to tackling climate breakdown. The school strike movement is a real example of social movement driven change.

“This is important because it’s exactly what we need right now. I’ve said before that now is the time to be radical. This is what I mean by that.”

Ms Chapman’s fellow co-convener, MSP Patrick Harvie, will highlight the party’s influence at Holyrood, including forcing the SNP to make budget changes with higher and new taxes.

He will also speak on Brexit and the party’s support for independence.

He will say: “It has been made clear that now, 20 years after the people of Scotland finally achieved their own parliamentary democracy, whatever laws we pass in devolved areas of authority, the UK is not only able but fully willing to retrospectively cut Holyrood’s powers and block the laws we make whenever they disagree.”

The two day conference will spend much of its time on campaign techniques, with an eye both to the next Holyrood election in 2021 and possible EU elections if Brexit is delayed.

The party will hold a hustings on Sunday as part of the candidate selection process for the EU election.

At the last EU election in 2014, the Greens came fifth behind Ukip in Scotland, with 8.1 per cent of the vote.

Mr Harvie will say: “We need to be ready to win more Holyrood seats, building on the gains we made in 2016 and filling in those gaps on the map where three regions of Scotland don’t yet have a Green MSP.

“A myth has been allowed to develop that only the far right populists are gaining ground in Europe.

“But while they do pose a serious threat, the truth is that in many European countries it’s the Greens people are turning to for a positive vision.

“Every one of us is being failed by middle ground politics – or worse, by the idea something moderate is the only alternative to something toxic.”