Storage tanks, refineries and other oil and gas equipment covered by light lines indicating security and connections.
In the News

New study cautions energy security must be part of a global energy transition

Researchers examine current energy transition policies and raise concerns about unintended consequences like market instability, power interruptions and high energy costs.

A new paper issued by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) reminds us that the pace and ambition of policies to transition Western economies to net-zero emissions must be balanced against the world’s energy security needs — or there may be serious unintended consequences.


In the paper, titled East vs West realpolitik: Why energy security matters, chief analysts Jack Mintz and Ron Wallace ask, “While achieving greater energy efficiencies and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions sounds reasonable, we need to examine how these goals will be accomplished and the consequences of doing so. Many government policies focus solely on environmental concerns – but at what cost?”

Read more: Russia strengthening hold on global energy markets

The paper examines efforts by many jurisdictions to decarbonize the world’s energy systems, fearing impacts of global climate change. But researchers conclude that current energy transition policies in North America and Europe, which are focused on cutting emissions, could undermine economic, energy and national security concerns. The paper highlights energy’s essential role in supporting economic recovery and resilience, and security – important considerations that tend to be ignored when environmental issues alone are prioritized as the basis of energy policy.


Read more: Who should supply energy the world needs?

The study notes, “No one has yet addressed the enormous financing requirements that will be needed to accomplish a comprehensive transition away from those fuels. Discouraging investment in fossil fuels has already led to market instabilities, power interruptions, and continued price escalations. It will also reward producers outside of North America with enormous windfalls as is presently occurring. Putin’s Russia, for example, has greatly strengthened its self-sufficiency in hydrocarbons and become a significant global exporter.”

Read more: Europe’s energy crisis set the stage for war in Ukraine

The authors conclude that energy policies “… assume that energy transitions are straightforward, even inevitable, and that alternative energy solutions can provide practical, adequate, sustained, and secure energy supplies. However, limiting production of fossil fuels at rates faster than can be reasonably and economically replaced with alternative power would lead to market instabilities, power interruptions, and price increases. Energy transition policies in North America may undermine both energy and national security, as has clearly occurred throughout Europe.”