Everyone seems to have it in for the Scottish Greens. Ministers Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are disappearing under a Holyrood pile-on, the aggressors mainly fading figures from Scotland’s political past.

The Tories started it, but now Alba’s Alex Salmond and some in the SNP, like former minister Fergus Ewing, are also setting about their Bute House partners. Even former Scottish Green Party leader Robin Harper, that affable, mild-mannered alumnus of Holyrood’s first three parliaments, has carefully folded his rainbow scarf, pushed back his sleeves and started dancing on his heels, brandishing his proverbial fists at his successors.

It's one great big angry blamefest. But is it justified? Not entirely. And what’s at stake here is much greater than who prevails in the small world of Yesser politics. Support or opposition for environmental policies are starting to be used as dividing lines in the SNP’s internal conflict, and by extension, the internal argument over independence.

In effect, the country’s strategy for achieving net zero is being torn apart in this sad little conflict and used as ammo, with potentially disastrous consequences for Scotland’s climate goals.

Read more Rebecca McQuillan: SNP in power until the 2030s? That’s up to Labour

It’s not that the Greens are lovable. A party that was set up to champion environmental causes was captured long ago by chilly left-wing elements. Politicians don’t have to be charismatic in the conventional sense, but when they struggle to convey humility and are lit from within with the millenarian zeal of the ascetic, you have a challenging proposition for voters.

It’s a measure of how disconnected the Greens had become from their environmental mission in the eyes of the public, that they were known in the period before joining government for three things – supporting independence; MSP Ross Greer’s comments on Winston Churchill (whom he termed a “white supremacist” and “mass murderer”); and a wholly uncompromising stance on trans rights.

The leadership’s adamant position on trans rights lost the Scottish Greens their most respected MSP, Andy Wightman, just months before the 2021 election; he called their position “alienating and provocative”. This is an issue in which opponents of gender self-identification were (and still are) branded transphobic by some activists.

This militancy, accompanied at all times by an insistent, somewhat punitive tone of moral certainty, has naturally put off a lot of people. It meant that public and political goodwill was in rather short supply at the point Slater and Harvie came into government seeking at last to implement a green agenda. The mishandling of the Deposit Return Scheme by Lorna Slater and her lack of contrition afterwards, have made things rather worse.

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So the Scottish Greens have brought much of this on themselves. That’s not all there is to it, however. They have also fallen foul of the SNP civil war.

“The SNP are tarnished, damaged and diminished by our continuing voluntary association with these hard left extremists – and unless the deal is scrapped this will only get far worse. Our polling support has dropped,” opined Fergus Ewing in this newspaper on Sunday, taking a swipe at heat pumps while he was at it.

I’m tempted to laugh. Does Mr Ewing really believe that the SNP’s failing fortunes are simply due to having the Greens in government? Scapegoating is common enough in politics, but this is just wrong. Prof Sir John Curtice, the country’s leading pollster, says that it is in fact the March leadership contest (which exposed deep and vicious divisions within the SNP itself), that brought about the biggest decline in polling support for the ruling party.

The pact with the Greens, whose electoral support has actually risen, is “probably not” the principal source of their difficulties, he states. He suggests the SNP firstly consider whether they have someone capable of leading them in future and, secondly, ask themselves whether their public spats are helping their poll ratings.

There’s a thought.

But the real issue here is not what’s best for the SNP. The real issue is where all this leaves Scotland’s progress towards a sustainable, net zero future. The strategy for achieving it is under attack as never before.

Read more Rebecca McQuillan: Is revolt brewing in rural Scotland?

What we are seeing unfold is a parallel phenomenon here in Scotland to what is happening in England and Wales, where policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions are coming under attack from certain figures in a failing party of government in a desperate bid to reverse their downward poll ratings.

Right-wing Tories and right-wing Scottish Nationalists are singing in harmony on this. They both support ongoing exploitation of new oil and gas fields, in stark opposition to climate science; they both rail against heat pumps, selectively quoting voices opposing them and ignoring the many voices in favour. Right-leaning nationalists, like right-wing Tories, do not appear to prioritise climate policies and offer no credible pathway for achieving net zero.

It's a very dangerous game to play. The Conservatives under Rishi Sunak have nothing left but base tactics. We know it is their intention to fight the next election on culture war issues, having failed on the economy and migration and the NHS. As part of this, they are deliberately fomenting discontent over key parts of their own net zero strategy.

You expect nothing better of the Conservatives. But for elements within the SNP to be playing the same game says something very worrying about the direction of Scottish politics. There’s a difference between scrutinising and testing the viability of net zero policies, and pandering to uninformed, kneejerk opposition to them. This is the wrong path for Scotland to go down. If we were to allow unfettered exploitation of new oil and gas reserves, and give up on trying to roll out heat pumps, as the naysayers would like, then what is their strategy for achieving net zero? Cue deafening silence.

The Scottish Greens are offputting to many. Get rid of them; don’t get rid of them – most voters won’t care terribly much either way. But if this monstering of the Scottish Greens continues to sound like an attempt to undermine Scotland’s net zero strategy, then it will have consequences that are far graver than the fate of a few Holyrood seats.