Age Scotland has criticised Patrick Harvie after the Green minister claimed Fergus Ewing was from a generation that had not “come to terms with the reality of what the climate emergency requires of us all collectively".

The charity said the remarks were "ill-considered and patronising" and an “ageist stereotype".

They warned that comments like this "fundamentally undermine older people’s participation in society, make them feel less valued and can lead to greater isolation and loneliness".

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The 50-year-old Scottish Green co-leader made the claim during an interview with the Scotland on Sunday when he asked about his recent spat with veteran SNP MSP Fergus Ewing.

Last week, writing in this paper, Mr Ewing described Mr Harvie and his party as "hard left extremists who should never be anywhere near government."

A number of other SNP politicians and former Scottish Government ministers have criticised the pact in recent weeks.

Former finance secretary Kate Forbes suggested the party should “check-in” with members about the content of the deal.

In his interview, Mr Harvie was asked what he thought of Mr Ewing, 65, and Ms Forbes, 33.

He said: “I think very different things about the two of them. We’ll probably agree and disagree about a range of different things, but one of them is a bright and articulate person and the other is not.”

Pressed further, he added: “The other is Fergus Ewing.

"He represents a generation that simply hasn’t moved on and come to terms with the reality of what the climate emergency requires of us all collectively.

"I don’t think that’s true of Kate Forbes despite the fact that I will fundamentally disagree with her on certain issues.

"For example in the way that she raised some of the issues around HPMAs, I don’t think that was in a knee-jerk reaction of just saying this is a bad idea and it shouldn’t happen.”

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Katherine Crawford, interim chief executive of Age Scotland, said they were disappointed by the comments.

She said: “We have been campaigning for years to shift the negative narrative that exists around ageing so it is sad to see such a sweeping – and inaccurate – statement made about older people.

“It is wrong, of course, but such comments also fundamentally undermine older people’s participation in society, make them feel less valued and can lead to greater isolation and loneliness.

“Older people make important contributions to the climate debate, as they do in all areas of life.

“Our Big Survey, which will be published in full next month, found that almost two thirds of older people said protecting the environment was very important and 51% said tackling climate change was very important to them, which makes the suggestion that older people are unaware of the extent of the climate crisis or how to mitigate it come across as ill-considered and somewhat patronising.

“We hope that everyone, whether they are a politician or not, will think twice about the language they use when speaking about older people and we will continue our work to ensure that ageist stereotypes are removed from our public discourse now and in the future.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: "Successive generations of politicians in the UK and across the globe have for decades failed to recognise the severity of the climate crisis or treat it with the urgency required.

"Those governments ducked the vital changes that should have been made years ago.

"Even today we see the likes of Labour rolling back on low emission zones and climate funding, and the Prime Minister issuing oil and gas licences and approving coal mines despite science telling us to cut our emissions.

"Yet turn on any TV screen over the past few weeks and what our children will see, what young people today are terrified by, are the massive wildfires razing entire communities, floods engulfing cities across Europe, and asking why we have let it happen?

"This is the biggest environmental crisis we will ever face, which is why we need people of all ages, young or old, to do their bit. That's not ageist, its fact, something we must surely all agree on."