The Arctic is being rapidly transformed with the expansion of globalisation, climate change, changes in energy policy, as well as changing population structure. During the past decade, all the Arctic states developed special policy programs aimed at developing their Arctic economies, while the global community is closely following the receding ice and pondering their future involvement. Yet, is such development sustainable? And what is sustainability in the Arctic? Through interdisciplinary work that builds on policy studies, economics, geospatial and geophysical research, this project seeks to review the multitude of aspects of the Arctic sustainability and develop methodologies that will allow to assess the effectiveness of various policy measures.
This study unpacks how transitioning to sustainable energy unfolds at the local level in Russia, a state with a fossil-dominated and centralized energy regime. Drawing upon the case study of Yakutia, I clarify the role of local authorities and non-state actors in local energy transitions in a hybrid regime. In order to uncover the dynamics of power relations as forces affecting the local energy transition in Yakutia, I develop an approach that combines the multi-actor perspective on socio-technical transition with theories of network governance in hybrid regimes. Through qualitative empirical research, I identify four distinct local energy transition models, showing how energy transition projects are initiated and executed through state-run local governance networks.
Crude oil production activities and associated petroleum gas (APG) flaring are responsible for significant air polluting and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and have negative effects on the environment and climate. In Russia, one of the world’s major oil producers, APG flaring remains a routine practice despite regulatory policies. We present the first analysis of nitrogen oxide and methane emissions over Tas-Yuryakh and Talakan oil fields in Sakha Republic (Eastern Siberia, Russia) using multi-satellite observations.
The ongoing interest in the Arctic and its immense natural wealth calls for better understanding the effects of resource development on the local Arctic economies. The idea that natural resources might be an economic curse rather than a blessing has been debated in the literature for the last 30 years. This paper contributes to study of resource-based development in the Arctic by exploring how the resource curse thesis can be interpreted at the level of an extractive region. We operationalize these interpretations for seven regions included into Russia’s Arctic Zone using statistical indicators. Our investigation does not support the resource curse thesis in application to the Russian Arctic regions, but indicates several economic vulnerabilities across the regions. We conclude that the regions vary in the patterns of their socio-economic development, yet, we cannot attribute the differences to resource-based economy alone.
While the circumpolar North is rich in energy resources‚ many Arctic communities depend on imported diesel‚ experience energy poverty and environmental vulnerability. In the past decade‚ pilot projects for switching remote villages from diesel-generated to wind- and solar-diesel hybrid power were realized in Canada‚ Russia‚ Greenland‚ and the US. This chapter explores the perspectives of regional policy-makers‚ private companies‚ and civil society on the current status and near future prospects of renewable energy policy and the development of energy efficiency in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Extreme environmental conditions, sparsely distributed human populations, and diverse local economies characterize the Russian Arctic and Far East. Sustainable development is imperative in these fragile environments. Yet, when it comes to sustainability indicators, little consideration has been given thus far to sparsely populated and remote territories. Rather, the majority of indicators have been developed and tested while using empirical research gathered from cities and densely populated rural localities. As a result, there is no scientific technique that can be used to monitor the development of sparsely populated territories and inform the decisions of policymakers who hope to account for local specificity. This article suggests a conceptual model for linking sustainability to the unique characteristics of the sparsely populated regions of the Arctic and Far East.
The Arctic currently holds a prominent place in global policy. It is a sparsely populated region experiencing major consequences of global change, such as climate change, shifting demographics, and globalization. These substantial and rapid changes create both opportunities and risks for economic development. Informed policy‐making for sustainable development in the Arctic will require an understanding of the specific structures of arctic economies, with a focus on the existence of mixed economies that contain both subsistence and market aspects, the interplay among different economic systems, and the broader contexts in which they function. This paper presents a conceptual framework that allows for comparative analysis of arctic economies within their institutional, social, cultural, and environmental contexts.
Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier (2018 – editor)
The Russian Far North is immensely rich in resources, both energy and other resources, and is also one of the least developed regions of Russia. This book presents a comprehensive overview of the region. It examines resource issues and the related environmental problems, considers the Arctic and the problems of sea routes, maritime boundaries and military build-up, assesses economic development, and considers the ethnic peoples of the region and also cultural and artistic subjects. Overall, the book provides a rich appraisal of how the region is likely to develop in future.
How can marine insurances exploit the Polar Code it in their work within the emerging Arctic market? This article conceptualizes the Polar Code as a “toolbox” for underwriters. At the moment, we observe a certain “Polar Code paradox”. Even though the PC is a risk-based instrument and constitutes a key step for improving ship insurability, it has only limited capacity to assist underwriters in assessing risks and insuring vessels.
What are the differences in the ways how Russian government communicates its Arctic policy aspirations to the domestic and foreign audiences? These two lines of political communication are framed very differently. Internally, the Arctic is a source of ‘great powerness’, while externally it is a matter of sovereign interest.
What determines the development of Arctic seaports? This study argues that given the specificity of operational conditions in the Arctic, as well as the expectations of the resource-driven future transformations, the conventional port development models cannot accurately depict factors of Arctic port activity. It puts forward a structuration approach focusing on how four dimensions of the policy environment (physical, economic, institutional, and environmental) enable and constrain policy choices available to a port authority. Application of this model to the case of Sabetta, a deep-sea multi-functional port constructed in the Ob estuary of the Yamal peninsula (Russia), demonstrates the inextricable links between actions and institutions and pinpoints the high level of uncertainty in Arctic port development.
How have the Russian Arctic policy agendas been reflected in mainstream Russian media outlets? The research was based on modeling topic structures of three federal and three regional newspapers. The corpus was further divided in two periods (2011–2013 and 2014–2015) to account for the potential effect of the Ukrainian crisis on agenda-setting. Both federal and regional newspapers were found to have been mostly concerned with the development of hydrocarbon resources, as coverage of this topic was the largest during both periods. However, during the second period (2014–2015), the repercussions of the Ukrainian crisis were visible in toning down the matter of international cooperation.
Icebreaking is a part of wider energy transport infrastructure in the Arctic. What is the role of icebreaking fees for the functioning of the most prominent Arctic shipping route, the northern sea route (NSR)? The study integrates qualitative and longitudinal quantitative data related to NSR traffic, ice-breaking tariffs and ice conditions.