JUST Transition and Net Zero are words heard every day in politics. Sometimes they feel like buzzwords, used to impress, or so the speaker seems on message.

But for many in Scotland, especially in the North East and the Northern Isles, these are so much more than buzzwords. When you talk about the energy sector, you’re talking about jobs – jobs held by our family, friends and neighbours. It’s about the money that pays the rent, or mortgage, and about spending power in local shops and businesses.

It follows that Just Transition is the most significant economic and social change our communities have faced since oil and gas were discovered off the coast. Understandably, some people are fearful, some hope for business as usual and others see opportunity.

The change is inevitable, however, and it is coming at us fast, even if we ignore the climate crisis and go full Donald Trump, who said: “Drill, baby, drill.” This is also the message that the Conservative government is pushing but its actions suggest this is nothing more than public relations. They don’t want to support the energy sector here, they just want to look as if they do.

The harsh reality is that the sector is in decline. According to industry body Offshore Energies UK, there are around 93,600 jobs currently supported by Scottish oil and gas. In 2014, that figure was more like 220,000 – an extraordinary loss of jobs in a 10-year period when the supposed saviours of the industry were in power at Westminster.

The job losses are going to continue, according to the UK Government’s own figures, with the sector expected to employ only 68,000 by 2030 if the oil price remains high. But we know only too well it won’t stay high forever. We have seen the impact of boom and bust on our communities far too often. Some say the next bust could be the North Sea’s last.

Whether you see it as an economic and environmental necessity, a golden opportunity or a sad reality, Just Transition has to happen – otherwise Aberdeen and other parts of the North East and Northern Isles could become like the mining communities of the 1980s.

We all know that the UK has a terrible record in supporting areas whose primary industry has declined. To imagine that Westminster will act any differently next time would be foolhardy.

Over the decades, the UK has benefited from £350 billion of North Sea revenues but we know it has not been spent for the benefit of Scotland – we know that none of it is coming back up the road to help with Just Transition. Scotland will take this journey on its own – a telling indictment of the UK. But we can do it.

We have so much potential: a highly educated population with two world-class universities in Aberdeen, a workforce trained to deal with some of the most challenging environments in the world, and a source of cheap, clean power on our doorstep.

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We simply need to reach out and grab the opportunity. As the SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn says: “We have the energy; we just need the powers.”

Our job is to give Scotland a vision of what a Just Transition will look like, to give hope, to inspire, and to provide a credible roadmap.

That is why I will be listening very carefully to the Talking Scotland podcast with Aberdeenshire councillor Fatima Joji and Flynn MP discussing all things energy, especially the Just Transition. Keep an eye on this space for more details on that.

Glen Reynolds is the SNP candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine