WHEN it comes to fighting climate change, we must all stand together or fall.

For decades, Scotland’s oil and gas industry has been the economic artery for many communities, from the Shetland Isles to Orkney and Peterhead to Falkirk, supporting livelihoods, providing jobs and attracting huge inward investment.

But as we pull together and take the required action to protect our planet for future generations, I know that those working in this vitally important industry will have questions about what it means for the future of the sector.

That’s why I have vowed that Scotland’s oil and gas workers will not be left behind as we work together to transition to a low-carbon future through our ground-breaking North Sea Transition Deal. We will put the people of Scotland, local businesses and jobs at the heart of our plans to build back greener from the pandemic.

Working with industry, not only will we support existing companies to decarbonise in a way that protects jobs, but we will attract new industries to base themselves in Scotland, develop export opportunities and secure new jobs for the long-term. We will do this by exploiting the oil and gas sector’s existing capabilities, infrastructure, skills and private investment potential to maximise the benefit from sunrise industries such as hydrogen production, carbon capture usage and storage, offshore wind and decommissioning.

Fortunately, we’re not starting from a blank piece of paper. There is already huge growth and jobs rich potential in the industries central to this orderly transition. The global decommissioning sector is estimated to be worth £270 billion from next year, and we want to see the UK fully exploit this booming market. Petrofac in Aberdeen, for example, has built a strong track record in this area, resulting in the company winning its first decommissioning contract in Australia.

Our 40GW offshore wind target could help unleash around £20 billion of private investment in renewable energy by 2030, creating 60,000 jobs and generating economic growth in Scotland’s communities. Through major investment in carbon capture usage and storage, we will provide industry with the certainty required to deploy this technology at pace and at scale, such as Project Acorn in the North East – creating jobs along the way.

And to top it off, the oil and gas sector has committed to ensuring that 50 per cent of the work involved in decommissioning and half of new energy technology projects will be provided by local businesses, helping to anchor jobs to Scotland. In fact, through each of these measures, we anticipate that this deal will cut pollution by up to 60 million tonnes by 2030, deliver tens of thousands of new jobs in Scotland and safeguard 105,000 more.

But at the same time, we must be realistic that oil and gas remains vital to the production of many everyday essentials like medicines, plastics, cosmetics and household appliances – and this is likely to remain the case over the coming decades as the UK transitions to low carbon solutions.

Indeed, the UK Government’s independent Committee on Climate Change recognises the ongoing demand for oil and natural gas, including it in all scenarios for how the UK meets its target for eliminating its contribution to climate change by 2050. So “transition” is the name of the game, with a focus on the next generation of clean technologies that we will need to power our homes and industry with government and industry working together behind this endeavour.

With all eyes on Glasgow this year with the UN’s climate summit COP26, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our united global leadership in tacking climate change.

As we build back better as one United Kingdom, the North Sea Transition Deal sends a message around the world that the UK is a nation of clean energy, setting a clear standard for other countries to follow our lead, while future-proofing our economy, protecting jobs and supporting local communities.

Kwasi Kwarteng is the UK Government's Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.