One of the biggest ironies of climate change in Scotland can be found on a beautiful stretch of Aberdeenshire coastline, by the mobile sand dunes of Menie where Donald Trump’s controversial golf course lies.

According to the government conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, it is one of the many coastal golf links now at risk from coastal erosion and flooding caused by climate pollution – a reality that the US President doesn't just ignore but actively denies.

Unfortunately, though, global warming threatens much more than golf and Trump’s vanity. As we report today, the risk of potentially devastating damage to homes, businesses and much of Scotland’s vital infrastructure is huge.

Loading article content

Thousands of people are in danger, as well as whole populations of wildlife. As the climate is increasingly disrupted by carbon pollution, we will get more heatwaves and more droughts, as well as more storms, floods and other weather-related disasters.

There are many signs that this is already happening. One of the most eloquent was the recent observation that snow has disappeared this year from the slopes of Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

The question is, of course, what should Scotland do about it? A few missed targets aside, the Scottish Government should be commended for its efforts thus far - but is it being ambitious enough for the future?

Its new Climate Cange Bill, out for public consultation until September 22, promises to cut carbon emissions 90 per cent by 2050. But campaigners say this is not enough.

The Stop Climate Chaos coalition says the aim should instead be to reduce emissions 100 per cent to zero by 2050. Some campaign groups and the Scottish Green Party say the target should be tougher - zero emissions by 2040.

More than 8,000 people have written to Scottish ministers urging them to rethink their plans. They want Scottish ministers to help lead the planet in combating one of its most serious threats.

Meeting any of the proposed targets will not be easy. Serious vested interests will have to be challenged, fossil fuel industries wound down, and our destructive love affair with the petrol engine will have to finish.

Such change is not necessarily bad news. It could mean less pollution, less illness and better lifestyles. Or, as one advocate put it, “a healthier, wealthier, greener country”.

This looks like a good option to us. Scottish ministers should have the courage of their convictions, and boost their target to cut climate pollution to zero, either by 2040 or 2050.

Such ambition would also demonstrate our responsibility to future generations. They will not thank us if we leave them a ravaged planet.