IT is a phrase that is bandied around on an almost daily basis by politicians and environmentalists to try to and soften the blow of thousands of jobs being lost in polluting industries to combat climate change.

But, like so many of such concepts dreamt up in city centre vague and ultimately meaningless.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), it is  the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind”.

The concept of “just transition” has been around since the 1980s, when it was used in a movement by US trade unions to protect workers affected by new water and air pollution regulations. 

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But, in recent years, the concept has come to mean ensuring the whole of society – all communities, workers and social groups – are brought along on the journey to net-zero to meet climate goals.

Try asking the workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery who face losing their jobs with the closure of the site what they think about the concept.

I bet the answer is much more succinct and probably ends with the word “off”.

No amount of management-speak buzzwords can get round the plain, simple fact – there is no such as a just transition.

As communities in Scotland and the rest of the UK and beyond can attest after the brutal mass closures of shipyards, mines and steelworks – once the jobs go, they go and cannot be replaced.

Even the Scottish Government’s own expert advisory group on just transition has raised fears about the effectiveness of the closure of Grangemouth.

Scotland’s Just Transition Commission said the decision to close the refinery runs “directly counter to a just transition to a low-carbon economy”.

It added that it is “deeply concerned” there will be a repeat of “previous unmanaged industrial transitions in coal and steel” which have left a negative legacy in some communities.

Petroineos, which owns the plant at Grangemouth, announced on Wednesday that the refinery site will stop operating in 2025 and the site will become a fuel import terminal.

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The firm said the site “faces significant challenges due to global market pressures and the energy transition”.

Around 500 permanent staff work at the refinery and the owners believe around 100 would be needed to operate an import terminal.

Refining has taken place at the site since the days of James “Paraffin” Young and the shale oil revolution in West Lothian at the turn of the last century.

Now the site is us to become a terminal at which ships offload imported, refined product for use in the UK and throws into sharp focus the very future of Britain’s energy supply policy.

If Grangemouth closes, that would will only leave only five refineries left in the UK.

But, for the heavy crude oil direct from the North Sea, refineries in Europe are more suitable than the other British refineries, which do not have due to Grangemouth’s specialist cracking tower which the others in the UK do not have.

As much of the North Sea oil is piped directly to Grangemouth along the Forties pipeline this is a quite ludicrous situation.

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The closure also brings into sharp focus the increasingly contentious issue about the pace at which the UK’s oil and gas industry should be allowed or required to wind down.

Maintaining a flow of oil and gas from North Sea fields is seen as protection against the volatility of global energy markets and spikes caused by conflicts such as in Ukraine.

However, even if we opened all the wells left in the UK there is very little we could can do with the oil it if we don’t have anywhere to refine it.

The anti-fossil fuel language and actions coming from senior politicians has also been criticised by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the founder and chairman of Ineos, which owns half of the refinery joint venture.

The multi-billionaire, who took over Grangemouth in 2005, has been scathing about the way in which the decline in the North Sea is being handled politically.

There has been a 40% reduction in oil flowing through the Forties pipeline since Ineos bought it six years ago, which has resulted in huge losses for the plant and now closure.

He partly blames the windfall tax on oil producers for the decline in product and it’s hard to disagree.

SNP ministers and their Green colleagues around the cabinet table now face arguably the biggest economic challenge since devolution.

Given their dislike of the oil and gas industry it is hard to see them rising to the occasion.