THE SCOTTISH Government has been told it “urgently needs to up its game” and back up promises to tackle the climate crisis with action – 100 days before Glasgow hosts the global COP26 conference.

SNP Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said COP26 presents Scotland with “a unique opportunity to show leadership on climate action on the international stage”. But worries have been raised about the Government’s progress in meeting climate targets.

The fears emerged as the Scottish Government refused to oppose plans to expand an oil field near Shetland with a spokesperson stressing that any support for fossil fuel extraction “is conditional upon them contributing to a sustainable and inclusive energy transition”.

COP26 president and UK Government minister, Alok Sharma, has described November’s event as the “last best chance” to keep a 1.5C warming limit alive – but his administration is facing pressure to reject the Cambo oil field plans and bring forward tougher action and funding to cut emissions.

The Scottish Government has pledged to turn the country into a carbon net zero nation by 2045, while MSPs have set legal annual targets including cutting 1990 levels of emissions by 75% in just nine years' time.

But the emissions targets have been missed for the last three years in a row, waste incinerator capacity has soared by almost 400% since the SNP came to power and the Scottish Government’s blueprint to cut emissions has been labelled “on the fringes of credibility” by its statutory advisers, the Climate Change Committee.

READ MORE: SNP minister admits missed emissions target 'wake-up call'

To mark 100 days before COP26 begins, the Scottish Government, despite not being a party to the Paris Agreement, has published an indicative nationally determined contribution (iNDC) to set out the SNP’s policies and aims to cut emissions.

Paris committed all countries to curb temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue a tougher 1.5C target – now seen as a potentially irreversible threshold beyond which the worst impacts of global warming will be felt.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), a coalition of charities and groups, has called for more action from SNP ministers.

Tom Ballantine, chairman of SCCS said: “This iNDC demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to drive up ambition at COP26.

“It signals that the Scottish Government is ready to stand up and put bold commitments on the table, to drive more ambition from the UK and the rest of the industrialised world.

READ MORE: Waste incineration soars by 400% under the SNP

"However, if the Scottish Government is serious about driving up action at COP26, it urgently needs to up its game ahead of the conference.

“Stronger, faster action is needed to phase out our most polluting activities and create new, decent job opportunities in green industries.”

Scotland’s Net Zero Secretary said that “by highlighting our own action, we hope to inspire others to raise their ambition”.

Mr Matheson added: “COP26 represents the world's best chance – and possibly one of our last chances – to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“We are working hard with our delivery partners to make sure the event is safe and secure and to create a platform for agreeing decisive climate action.”

The COP26 president has today issued a warning that “COP26 is our last best hope of avoiding the worst effects of climate change, and we cannot afford to fail”.

Mr Sharma added: “Over the next 100 days, we need all governments to accelerate the green transition, so that we leave Glasgow with a clear plan to limit global warming to 1.5C.

HeraldScotland: COP26 president Alok SharmaCOP26 president Alok Sharma

“This will set the course of this decisive decade for our planet and future generations.”

The UK Government is being warned it needs to maximise its diplomatic efforts as hosts of COP26 to ensure the summit is a global success.

UK ministers face calls for concrete action and extra funding to cut pollution to be announced – and to halt plans for new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said investment in new fossil fuel schemes was not needed.

Shell and Siccar Point Energy have submitted plans to the UK Government to expand the Cambo field which would mean up to 170 million extra barrels of oil could be produced from the North Sea.

The Cambo heavy crude field off the coast of Shetland contains more than 800 million barrels of oil.

If approved, the Cambo extension would be producing oil and gas until 2050 if it begins operations from 2025, as developers hope.

READ MORE: Cambo oil field: SNP told to 'break silence' and oppose plans ahead of COP26

The Scottish Greens have lodged a motion at Holyrood, in opposition to the scheme – but the Scottish Government has refused to rule out formally opposing it.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are wholly committed to becoming a net-zero economy by 2045 and, whilst this is ultimately a reserved area, any Scottish Government support for oil and gas businesses operating in the North Sea is conditional upon them contributing to a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, and ensuring a secure energy supply.

“The oil and gas sector can play a positive role in Scotland’s energy transition, helping to design the diverse energy system we need for the future.

"The knowledge and experience of the oil and gas sector and its supply chain will also be important for developing and investing in essential low carbon technologies, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage – a technology that is seen by experts such as the UK Climate Change Committee and International Energy Agency as being vital to achieving Scottish, UK and international climate emissions targets.”