For as long as I can remember, the gentle whirr of ship engines has been carried over Aberdeen by the North Sea breeze which whips through the port and up on to the surrounding city centre streets.

The noise, sight and smell of these enormous boats – emblematic of the Granite City’s energy boom – are a daily reminder of the pioneering spirit which has given so much to so many in this part of the world.

But people here know that we need to change. We are not blind to the obligation upon all of us to tread more lightly on the environment.

Yet over recent months our region been portrayed as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The reality is that the skills, people, and experience embedded in the North East have quietly been leading the way in moving Scotland towards its net-zero targets, without any intervention from COP26.

And the reason I mention the port is because it is a brilliant example of how the energy sector is showing true leadership and delivering meaningful innovation and change.

Last week, a new partnership between BP and Aberdeen Harbour Board was launched to electrify the quayside and allow vessels to switch off their main engines when berthed, dramatically cutting both noise and carbon emissions. The possibility of powering ships with hydrogen – which would be a game-changer – is also being explored.

Both these businesses are showing how innovative and collaborative private-sector partnership working can get the job done, achieving greater things together than they would in isolation.

Contrast this with the stance taken by Nicola Sturgeon, who just a day earlier told the Scottish Parliament that, if it were her decision, the proposed Cambo oilfield would not be given the go-ahead. Even the SNP’s former head of communications has questioned this move publicly.

She did not need to take a position on it, because it is a reserved matter over which Holyrood has no jurisdiction.

As the dust settled on events in Glasgow, perhaps this was seen as an opportunity to demonstrate support for the green agenda, which will undoubtedly dominate our political landscape and lives for a generation.

However, this did not feel like leadership. It felt like opportunism masquerading as leadership, with the First Minister succumbing to the populist view that we can just erase oil and gas from our energy mix and carry on as normal. She knows that the buck for energy security does not stop with her.

Be in no doubt, this is a devastating statement for the 100,000-plus people employed in the oil and gas industry – the rump of which are based in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

What has been missing from the hysteria around Cambo – and the debate on oil and gas in general – has been context. Context around the fact that people continue to need, and consume, oil and gas – and products derived from them – to travel, to heat and power their homes and to buy many everyday goods. The global energy system is changing; however, the population cannot change the way it uses energy overnight.

Oil and gas will continue to be required throughout the transition to net-zero carbon, and new fields will be required to meet our domestic supply needs in the meantime.

The energy-transition opportunity for Aberdeen could in fact be bigger than the oil and gas industry – but to get there, we need strong leaders, ones who are willing to cut through the noise, see the big picture and get our transition steps in the right order to protect jobs, provide retraining opportunities and create new ones.

The promise of a “just transition” on one hand appears to have been taken away by the other.

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