GOVERNMENTS in Westminster and Holyrood have now set legally binding net zero carbon targets and Nicola Sturgeon has gone further to declare a climate emergency. So, what next?

Aberdeen is known worldwide as a city that’s entrepreneurial, dynamic and innovative; a place that likes to get things done. Having been a global leader in the oil and gas sector for over half a century, we’re now utilising our incredible skills and research strengths to develop new energy technologies.

An iconic symbol of this great transition is the construction of world’s first floating windfarm by Equinor, off the North-east coast. And in Aberdeen Bay, Vattenfall’s offshore wind test and research centre will help establish which way the wind is blowing for this rapidly growing part of the UK energy mix.

These renewable innovations sit alongside NorthConnect, a £1.5 billion project providing an electricity link between Scotland and Norway to support the growth of renewable power. In addition, the UK and Scottish Governments have committed funding to develop a world-leading carbon capture and storage project based at Peterhead.

We also have the new National Decommissioning Centre in Newburgh, a £38 million partnership between the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and the University of Aberdeen, which aims to position Scotland as the global leader in technologies related to the decommissioning of existing oil fields enabling the re-use of infrastructure to support the development of hydrogen and CCS initiatives.

Much of this is underpinned by our expertise in subsea engineering. We already have the world’s largest cluster of businesses in this sector in the region and plans are well advanced for the creation of a global underwater hub that will put our supply chain at the centre of the emerging blue economy.

There’s a well-developed programme led by Aberdeen City Council and partners to position the area at the forefront of hydrogen technology in Europe. Its hydrogen bus fleet, which emits only water vapour, recently passed the million-mile mark and there are plans for piloting a residential development with homes powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Offshore Europe, the continent’s leading energy exploration and production conference takes place at our new world class venue, P&J Live @ TECA this week. The 36,000+ delegates will be in the most sustainable events complex in the UK, powered by local renewable energy sources and featuring the country’s largest hydrogen fuel cell installation.

And the Chamber is working alongside Zero Waste Scotland to deliver a business engagement programme promoting the adoption of circular economy practices and motivating practical behaviour change to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted.

It is great news that Glasgow is to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2020 and we believe that Aberdeen has a role to play in delivering a programme that will demonstrate to delegates and the wider world the real-life work going on right now in this region that puts Scotland at the heart of the energy transition agenda.

The future success of the Aberdeen city region will no longer be linked to rises or falls in the price of a barrel of crude. Europe’s oil and gas capital is utilising the expertise, transferable skills and supply chain here to make a significant contribution to the creation of a net zero carbon economy.

Russell Borthwick is the chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce