A senior climate adviser has emphasised the “really important role” Aberdeen has to play in axing the UK’s carbon emissions.
Delivering the keynote address at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s (AGGC) COP26 breakfast, Lord Deben told attendees that they are “part of the solution”.
He acknowledged the “very considerable expertise and experience” that exists in the north-east, stemming from the region’s rich oil and gas history, and its significance in delivering the energy transition.
A former MP with 16 years of top-level ministerial experience, Lord Deben is now chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change.
Also speaking at the AGCC event, which was held at the P&J Live, were Maggie McGinlay, chief executive of not-for-profit ETZ Ltd, and Martin Findlay, senior partner at KPMG in Aberdeen.
It was held to coincide with the launch of AGCC and KPMG’s 34th oil and gas survey, which showed 41% of north-east firms are yet to develop a specific net zero or carbon reduction strategy.
But the study did describe the energy transition as “perhaps a bigger and longer term economic opportunity for the Aberdeen city region than when oil was discovered in the North Sea in the 60s”.
Lord Deben said: “The world in which we live and the place at which we found ourselves is really exciting – you in Aberdeen have an important role to play.
“If you play it properly we’ll build a better world, while conquering the damage that we have done to the world that gives us life.”
He added: “You are part of the driving force of the British economy now, and you will have to be in the future.”
Scotland finds itself at the epicentre of world news, with Glasgow currently hosting the historic COP26 climate conference.
Numerous world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have attended the event as they try to set out a course of action for mitigating climate change.
Lord Deben described COP26, which kicked off on Sunday, as “perhaps the last chance” to get the world “on the route to protecting itself”.
But he also underlined the need for optimism, labelling the transition a “very exciting time” for humanity.
People know what “threatens” them, but “we know how to solve it,” he said.
What is needed is the “will to do it and to keep on doing it” to deliver a future that is “so much better”.
That includes ensuring that the hardest up in society don’t find themselves worse off as a result of the transition.
“I feel very strongly about that,” Lord Deben said.
“We have to create a society in which it’s easier to be good, cheaper to be good and more difficult to be bad. That’s a very simple concept because being good is going to make the world a better place.
“We’ve got to help people who can’t make those choices, and that’s going to be a very big issue for government.”