THIS weekend the full Scottish Tory circus will be coming to Aberdeen for their annual conference. There’ll be big speeches and big claims, but absolutely no solutions to the problems that our region or our country faces.

Taking place against a backdrop of Westminster-inflicted chaos and a squeeze on all but the very wealthy, their conference will be an exercise in denial and a celebration of the kind of greed and broken economics that have dragged us into yet another Tory recession and hiked the cost of living.

There won’t be any hint of contrition or apology for the awful economic experiments of Trussonomics, the disastrous Brexit that has already done so much damage or their inability to protect people from the poverty their policies have caused.

It is a time for big and urgent solutions to the era-defining challenges we face. Instead, what we will see is Douglas Ross, Rishi Sunak and the rest of their cast of disaster capitalists cavorting with friendly lobbyists and donors and doubling down on their plans to carve up even more of our North Sea for the exploitation of fossil fuel giants.

READ MORE: Inverclyde set to hike council tax by 8.2 per cent despite freeze

There’ll be no shortage of glasses raised to the new oil and gas licences which have always been a centrepiece of the Tory offering to Aberdeen. It’s the exact same story every time they come to our city.

However, the reality is that our North East communities are at a crossroads.

The oil and gas companies that have been so long associated with our region may be raking in huge profits, but industry jobs are in sharp and terminal decline. Standing ovations and the promise of new tax breaks for multi-billion pound corporations won’t change that.

At the same time as too many political leaders are arguing with one another about who can do the most to support oil and gas, we risk letting a huge opportunity slip through our fingers.

With the climate changing rapidly around us, this is a time for all of us to recognise the urgent need to invest in the just transition to renewables which all parties claim to support.

But it will take more than words. It means rapid and serious investment in green technology and industries and in training and creating opportunities for the thousands of skilled workers we have in Aberdeen and the wider region.

The National: Oil and gas workers in Aberdeen must be considered in the just transitionOil and gas workers in Aberdeen must be considered in the just transition

That is why I hope the Prime Minister takes the time to visit the University of Aberdeen’s Just Transition Lab, which brings together the kind of social, environmental and economic understanding we need to replicate across government and wider society.

If he does then he should ask to see their groundbreaking Measuring Just Transition report. It is a robust and important exercise in creating a roadmap for what a transition for the North East could look like and what we need to get there.

On a national level we are seeing important progress. The Fraser of Allander Institute has shown a 50% increase in renewables jobs in 2021 alone, with many more in the pipeline. But that needs to be expanded and seen and felt at a local level.

That means holistic and far-reaching plans that recognise the need to invest in an integrated and sustainable travel network, green and affordable homes and a targeted focus on retraining and skills development.

As part of the cooperation agreement that brought the Scottish Greens into government for the first time, we secured a £500 million Just Transition Fund that is working to turn Green priorities into action, with a particular focus on the North East.

READ MORE: Top diplomat calls for new Scottish trade office in Taiwan

Our region has seen the impact of decades of climate complacency. Too many have been left at the mercy of global commodity prices and an industrial policy that is no longer fit for purpose.

When I am in Aberdeen I can see the damage this stubborn mismanagement has done, but also the huge potential for a revitalised green economy that can provide a beacon for transition for the whole of the UK and beyond.

Increasingly our communities will find themselves on the front line. Only three months ago we were hit with storms that flooded nearby Angus, forcing hundreds of people from their homes in the middle of the night.

That’s why, if we are serious about a just transition underpinning Scotland’s future, we must not only recognise the connections between environmental, social and economic justice but act accordingly.

That means ensuring that we are flood-proofing and future-proofing our homes and our communities and that the workers and households in the North East are not bit-parts but are at the heart of shaping that transition.

The National: Oil rig

Westminster’s inaction and anti-climate policies are a huge barrier, but they are no excuse for inaction on our part. Neither our economy nor our climate can afford to put it off any longer.

We need all levels of government to work together for our climate and to seize the opportunities ahead of us.

Aberdeen has a unique role to play in driving forward our just transition. It can be the engine that drives the climate action and green economy that are so vital.

That greener, better and more prosperous future could not be more removed from the one that Rishi Sunak, Douglas Ross and their Tory colleagues will be celebrating this weekend.