As your Green MSP I’m frequently asked what can be done in West Dunbartonshire to tackle the climate emergency.

I know many people locally are putting great effort into making their own lives greener, which should be applauded. But if we’re to stand a chance of preventing catastrophic climate breakdown, it is the corporations and governments responsible for causing this crisis who must change.

After all, fewer than a hundred companies are responsible for two-thirds of all global emissions over the last three centuries. Those who got obscenely rich from destroying our planet should clearly be the ones paying to fix their own mess.

It’s not just those companies but governments too who need to do much more. And that’s where people in West Dunbartonshire can play a powerful role.

One huge local success story happened very recently. It related to the £24 billion Strathclyde pension fund for council staff in West Dunbartonshire and across the west of Scotland.

This fund has around £500 million invested in fossil fuels such as oil and gas, despite growing evidence that this is a terrible area for investment. Between 2017 and 2020, the Strathclyde fund – and therefore the pension pots of local workers – lost £46m from the devaluation of these investments.

Local residents have campaigned for the fund to divest from fossil fuels for many years, both to safeguard pensions and to stop it from contributing to the climate crisis by bankrolling the companies most responsible.

In April, Scottish Green councillors put a motion to Glasgow City Council, who take the leading role on the pension fund’s board, to divest all funds from fossil fuel companies. This was passed overwhelmingly and led to a landmark decision by the fund itself earlier this month to start this process.

Our Green councillors would not have won this vote had residents across the west of Scotland not spent years lobbying to support divestment. That is the power of community action.

Divesting needs to happen quickly and I’ll be carefully monitoring the fund’s progress to make sure this is the case.

With the world’s governments coming to Glasgow this November for the COP26 climate summit, moving half a billion pounds out of fossil fuels and into green industries will send a powerful message.

We have until 2030 to stop our planet reaching its tipping point. It’ll be hard work but local victories like this give me hope that we will win.