EVERYONE in Scotland must come together in a “shared, national endeavour” to tackle climate change or future generations will pay the price, ministers have insisted.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said responding to the climate emergency “must be hardwired into our national psyche”.

It came as Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, warned that government policy must match its ambitions.

He told MSPs: “It is not credible to have a net-zero target unless there is policy to match and at the moment we don't have that policy."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at the SNP conference last month, and has since committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045.

The Scottish Government argues this represents “the most stringent legislative targets anywhere in the world and Scotland’s contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within a generation”.

It followed recommendations set out by the Committee on Climate Change that Scotland meet emissions targets five years ahead of the UK in 2050.

Ms Cunningham said ministers had already scrapped a £150 million tax cut for the airline industry, as well as committing to a 20p deposit return scheme for cans, glass bottles and plastic drink containers.

In a statement in Holyrood, she said: “Our response to the climate emergency will impact on how we live as a society and on how our economy operates.

“This must be a shared, national endeavour: we all need to think more about how we can make our lives more sustainable, cutting down on waste and excess.”

She added: “This is not just about government action. And it is not something that only affects Scotland. All countries must act and must do so quickly and decisively.

“We all have a part to play: individuals, communities, businesses, other organisations.”

Ms Cunningham said an emergency needs a systematic response that is appropriate to the scale of the challenge and “not just a knee-jerk, piecemeal reaction”.

She said all ministers are “looking across the full range of policy areas to identify areas where we can go further, faster”.

And she insisted the Scottish Government will be placing climate change at the heart of everything it does – including at the core of its next policy blueprint and spending review.

She said: “Scotland has always been an innovator. This is one of our great strengths. Responding to the climate emergency will not be easy, but Scotland is not in the business of taking the easy way out.

“Scotland’s response to the climate emergency must be hardwired into our national psyche.

"We must take this journey together, seize the economic opportunities available to us and redefine what world leadership means, not just as a government but as a country.

“Scotland has declared a global climate emergency and now Scotland must act as one to safeguard our planet for future generations.”

Ms Cunningham said Scotland had already almost halved emissions since 1990 while growing the economy and increasing employment and productivity.

But speaking to Holyrood’s environment committee earlier, Mr Stark stressed there was not “that much more time” to achieve targets.

He said: "We're all going to have to get to net-zero or the game's a bogey."

The Scottish Greens, who helped pass the minority SNP administration’s Budget earlier this year, insisted they would not do so again unless ministers prioritise tackling the climate emergency in all policy areas.

The party’s climate spokesman Mark Ruskell said: “It’s vital that action is taken across all portfolio areas, particularly on transport and agriculture, two areas where emissions have grown in recent years.”

Meanwhile, campaigners Extinction Rebellion Scotland accused the Scottish Government of doing “nothing more than rearrange deckchairs on the Titanic”, adding: “An emergency requires an emergency response and this doesn’t even come close.”

They demanded ministers commit to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 as well as creating a “Climate Citizens’ Assembly” to allow ordinary people to have their say.