PATRICK Harvie has denied that the Scottish Greens have launched an ‘environmental briefing war’ with a world-leading climate charity.

The Greens co-leader and Scottish Government minister, suggested that Greenpeace is “not particularly active in Scotland” after the group criticised Nicola Sturgeon’s refusal to formally oppose controversial plans for a new oil and gas project in the North Sea.

Mr Harvie’s party colleague, Ross Greer, added that Greenpeace were “landing here in Scotland having spent very little time trying to understand our situation, but have come here to lecture us on the action that we’re taking”.

Greenpeace said its activists had spent the summer visiting communities in Scotland.

Sam Chetan-Welsh, Greenpeace UK’s political campaigner, said: “The ball is still in Nicola Sturgeon’s court.

“If she wants to show her calls on the UK Government to reassess Cambo are not just a PR exercise, then she should clearly state that her government is against it.”

Mr Harvie was pressed over the comments after an event at COP26.

Asked if he believes his party knows more about climate than Greenpeace, Mr Harvie said: “No, I don’t,”

He added: “I know that one or two or my words have been lifted out of context. I’m a supporter of Greenpeace, I’m a donor to Greenpeace.

“I do think that we’re more actively plugged into the Scottish political landscape.

“I think Greenpeace very often, understandably, look at an issue like Cambo and see it a UK context – they don’t see it in a Scottish context. That was the only point I was making.”

The Scottish Government minister stressed that Greenpeace “certainly have the right to criticise that position of the First Minister”.

He said: “The SNP and the Greens have been very clear – we don’t have a shared position on the future of oil and gas. The Greens are very clear that we should be saying no to Cambo and I recognise that’s not the Scottish Government's position yet – I suspect it will be.

“I think Greenpeace, understandably, are more plugged into UK politics than Scottish politics.”

Mr Harvie said that the SNP-Greens co-operation agreement states “very clearly” that the parties “don’t have a shared position on the future of the oil and gas industry” – including on their vision for an independent Scotland.

He added: “The Greens are very clear, as are the majority of the world’s climate experts, including even the likes of the International Energy Agency, who are now saying no new oil and gas extraction.

“That’s our position – that's the position of a great many people here at COP and I think it’s the position that all of the Scottish political landscape will get to as well.”