Jeff Rubin: Climate Change Will Bring Benefits to Canada’s Economy

February 21, 2017

As Canada’s climate changes, some sectors of the country’s economy may soon see significant opportunities even as efforts to address those changes bring frustration elsewhere, notably to Canada’s fossil fuel sector.

In a new paper, Centre for International Governance Innovation Senior Fellow Jeff Rubin argues that four key Canadian sectors could benefit over the next few decades from a rapidly changing climate even as climate change mitigation efforts have negatively impacted other sectors. And the fact that the United States may no longer be a major player in climate change prevention will only further benefit these sectors.

Economic Opportunity from a Changing Climate looks closely at unique opportunities in four sectors: producing more value-added crops because of longer growing seasons and northward expansion of growing areas for corn and pulses; significant growth in the wind and solar power industries as coal-fired power is phased out; a growing market for hydro power, especially from Quebec, as a result of stricter emissions targets; and year-round shipping routes through the Northwest Passage that will allow Canada to offer a competitive advantage over other routes.

“Canada has long considered the costs related to combatting climate change as a threat to our economy,” said Rubin. “In fact, at least for some sectors, we are already seeing clear opportunities for direct economic benefits from a changing climate. But we can only take advantage of these opportunities if we take proactive steps now.”

Rubin’s paper recommends that:

  • The governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan conduct a full assessment of the water requirements a shift in prairie agriculture to higher value-added crops would entail;
  • Transmission infrastructure be upgraded to facilitate large-scale power exports from Quebec to Ontario, and that British Columbia and Alberta should explore the viability of new transmission lines to carry surplus BC hydro power to Alberta; 
  • The federal government should consider sharing the cost of needed upgrades of transmission lines across the country with provincial governments to facilitate greater interprovincial electricity transfers; and
  • An Arctic strategy to develop shipping infrastructure should be established to realize the economic potential of Arctic shipping.

For interview requests or other information, contact: 
Jeff Stoub
Communications Manager, Centre for International Governance Innovation
[email protected]
+1 519 885 2444 ext. 7356 

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.