How the war in Ukraine will shape Canada’s energy and climate policies – by Mark Winfield (Toronto Star – March 12, 2022)

Canada could be asked to increase oil and natural gas production, presenting challenges for Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Major wars are often watershed moments in history. Their outcomes define governance structures, politics and policy directions for decades, even centuries, to come. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine already seems certain to have these kinds of effects at the national, regional and global scales.

The invasion has quickly come to dominate political and policy agendas, displacing the focus from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. But the war in Ukraine will have major implications for these questions, particularly around energy and climate change, for Canada and the rest of the world, far into the future.

Beyond the immediate horror of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, perhaps its most obvious effects in climate and energy policy terms have been to provide Europe with a powerful imperative to accelerate the process of decarbonizing its economies.

The risks associated with European dependence on Russian oil and gas have always been an underlying rationale for energy transitions in Europe. A ban on Russian oil and gas imports, a significant portion of Europe’s energy supplies, may be one of the few measures left, short of direct military action, that could cause Putin to pause his attack.

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