Five members of Extinction Rebellion Scotland were fixed to railings using bike locks at the front of the Holyrood building to demand the upcoming Scottish Climate Bill responds to the "current climate and ecological emergency".
Parliamentary business was unaffected by the protest.
The group sent keys to each individual lock to the office of each of Scotland's five big political parties.
All the protesters have now been freed.
Extinction Rebellion claimed it had undertaken the stunt in protest at the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, which is expected to set a 2045 target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report recommendations.
The group said the CCC had "hidden the scale and urgency of the cuts needed today by assuming enormous volumes of carbon will be removed from the atmosphere in future by unproven technological fixes.".
In a statement, the group continued: "This allows for politically palatable conclusions which see continued exploration of North Sea oil and gas, continued airport expansion and incremental changes to business as usual. This still puts us on course for truly catastrophic warming.
"The Scottish Government have declared a climate emergency in word only, but are still kicking the can down the road."
One of the protesters at Holyrood, Rohan Stevenson a 22-year-old student, said: “Nicola Sturgeon has declared a climate emergency, but unfortunately the latest amendments to the Climate Bill do not reflect that sense of urgency at all. The next decade is make or break: 2045 is twenty years too late. Our MSPs hold the keys to our future - I ask that they have the courage to use them."
Another protester, Eleanor Harris, 21, said: “Right now is the most critical point in the climate movement in Scotland. It's vital we get our message heard loud and clear by policy makers while the Scottish Climate Bill is being considered.
"We need them to understand that the changes possible while upholding the growth economy are going to drive millions to extinction, and in order to protect the future of our ecosystem and the human race, far more radical changes are essential. We're running out of time and options to get MSPs to listen, which is why I locked on today."