This week’s announcement that Glasgow has been chosen to host the global climate summit in 2020 is a monumental opportunity. COP26 will bring world leaders to Scotland’s biggest city to discuss the (lack of) progress toward meeting the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

It’s essential therefore, that the timid climate response of both UK and Scottish governments is put under the microscope. 

Since COP21 we’ve received a stark warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; we have just over a decade left to dramatically decarbonise our economy. Otherwise, we cannot prevent complete climate breakdown. Far, far more progress is needed than what’s been achieved to date. 

It’s easy to get down when faced with this genuinely existential crisis, but I have drawn so much hope from the millions of young people across Scotland and the world who have taken a stand against the failure of governments and corporations to stop this crisis.

They’ve walked out of their classrooms and taken to the streets, striking for our climate.

The movement, led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, has demonstrated that young people will hold those in power to account, leaving them in no doubt about the transformative action now required.

I’ve no doubt that the First Minister had this mind when she announced her Programme for Government last week.

The 158-page document was full of warm rhetoric about facing up to the climate challenge.

Ultimately though, there was little substance to demonstrate a true emergency response to the crisis. It was a pale imitation of the transformative proposals for a Scottish Green New Deal which we published the week before. 

The next Global Climate Strike is scheduled for next Friday, September 20. Once again, thousands of young people across Scotland are expected to take part. I doubt the Scottish Government’s timid proposals were enough to convince any of these prospective strikers to stay in class. 

READ MORE: Global Climate Strike kids say they could be "lifted" 

One thing that will undoubtedly trouble some of those preparing to take action is the patently ridiculous suggestion, attributed in the Edinburgh Evening News to a council official, that those taking part in the Edinburgh march may be arrested.

It’s just outrageous that someone in a position of authority would seek to intimidate a considerable number of young people who are taking the Curriculum for Excellence to the streets by engaging in exactly the kind of active citizenship we encourage.

Learning about the climate, about our power to create change together and about the right to strike are vital life skills that young people will be developing when they take action on the 20th. Those who think that students should not express their views so effectively are often the very same people whose failure to stop the crisis has forced this action in the first place.

READ MORE: City urged to train ‘carbon literate’ leaders 

I have no doubt that history will look back with admiration on the climate strikers, a movement of intelligent young people who took a risk to highlight a global emergency.
I doubt the same will be said for those officials and political leaders who attempt to intimidate these young heroes.

Ross Greer is the Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson and West Scotland MSP.