EACS2018 – 22nd Biennial Conference

These days The 22nd Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies is being held in the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Our researcher Sanna Kopra is presenting today her work titled “Towards growing interdependence, disintegration or a new kind of hegemony? Case China and Arctic futures” at the International Relations panel.

More information on the Conference can be found here.

PONARS Policy Memo on renewables in Kazakhstan and Russia

A new PONARS Policy Memo “Renewables in Kazakhstan and Russia: Promoting “Future Energy” or Entrenching Hydrocarbon Dependency?” written by professors Natalie Koch and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was released this August.

Energy and natural resource use has always been a key issue of geopolitics, but as more countries adopt “post-oil” transition policies, environmental sustainability has itself become an important geopolitical issue that is increasingly defining political relations among and within states. Leaders in both Kazakhstan and Russia—two of Eurasia’s leading hydrocarbon producers—have been investing in new alternative energy infrastructures, “green economy” development, and certain forms of environmental sustainability. Among these were high-profile initiatives: Kazakhstan recently hosted EXPO-2017 with the theme of “Future Energy” and Russia had “The Year of the Environment 2017.”

Iconic or exceptional as many sustainability initiatives may be, these projects shed light on the region’s changing energy geographies. They also raise important questions about how and why local leaders have been advancing these policies when both Kazakhstan and Russia’s political economies are still so tied to traditional energy extraction. Do new alternative energy projects mark a sea change of promoting “future energy” transitions in Eurasia? Alternatively, do these projects risk further entrenching hydrocarbon dependency in both countries? Whose interests are at stake in such transitions? And how might recent renewable energy initiatives support or challenge prevailing political configurations in Kazakhstan and Russia? While some changes are underway, infrastructure challenges and networks of power-players and rent-seekers, as well as a shallow civic commitment to environmental protection, make it difficult to create new energy capacities based on renewables, despite governmental advocacy of it.

Read the full text on PONARS Eurasia website.

Sanna Kopra for Politiikasta

The article “Kiina ja suurvaltojen rooli ilmastopolitiikassa: Palmujokelaisia näkökulmia vastuuseen” (China and the role of great powers in climate politics: Palmujoki’s perspective on responsibility) by Sanna Kopra was published in Politiikasta. In the article Sanna writes about her 2016 dissertation titled “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility? China and the International Practice of Climate Responsibility” and how the approach suggested by her supervisor Eero Palmujoki was surprising at first, but later proved to be a good idea and shaped her current research direction, for example, in her recently published book.

Read these interesting Sanna’s reflections on her past and future research and her work with the supervisor Eero Palmujoki online.


Winland project

Academy of Finland website published a new article about Winland titled “Energia, ruoka ja vesi Suomen turvallisuuden perustekijöitä” (Energy, food and water – basic elements of Finnish security). The article describes the activities of Winland researchers and mentions Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s part of the research project:

 The role of Russia is also highlighted, particularly in the part of the research project led by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. The research seeks  for an answer to the question of what kind of causal relations energy creates in between Finland and Russia and reminds how critical the energy sector is for both security and sustainability. Traditionally, Russia sells oil, natural gas and uranium, but now Russians also construct a nuclear power plant.

The full version of the article is available on the Academy website. Similar article was also published in Tekniikka&Talous on 22 of August.

New book  “Climate Change Discourse in Russia: Past and Present” published

A new book titled “Climate Change Discourse in Russia: Past and Present” was published by Routledge this August. The volume is edited by Marianna Poberezhskaya and Teresa Ashe and consists of 7 chapters written by different authors, all of whom address the issue of climate change and how it has been treated in Russia, starting from discussion in the Soviet Union. Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen contributed to the book a chapter “The Environment of an Energy Giant: Climate discourse framed by ‘hydrocarbon culture’”.

More information on the book can be found on the publisher’s website.

Estonian “Sputnik” on Baltic Connector

Estonian version of news agency “Sputnik” published a new article “Эстония строит заведомо убыточный газопровод” (Estonia is constructing a knowingly unprofitable gas pipeline), where Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen is cited. While discussing the Baltic Conector project, Professor Tynkkynen could turn beneficial for Finland when debating the prices with Gazprom in the future.

Read the full article online here.

AI in-house seminar

On 14th of August a seminar “Chin­a’s great power cli­mate re­spons­ib­il­ity”  was held in Aleksanteri Institute, as a part of a new seminar series “New perspectives on Russia”. This presentation gave an introduction to Dr. Sanna Kopra’s new book China and Great Power Responsibility for Climate Change by Routledge, published in August 2018.

Based on a premise that great powers have unique responsibilities in international society, the book explores the way China’s rise to great power status transforms the notions of great power responsibility in general and in the context of international climate politics in particular. The book produces empirical knowledge on the Chinese party–state’s conceptions of state responsibility and the influence of those notions on China’s role in international climate politics. Regarding theory, the book builds on and contributes to the English School of International Relations and argues that the international norm of climate responsibility is an emerging attribute of great power responsibility. The book also discusses the way China will act out its climate responsibility in the future and ponders broader implications of China’s evolving notions of great power responsibility for climate change. Thus, it seeks to shed new light on the transformations China’s rise will yield and the kind of great power China will prove to be.

Book launch of “China and Great Power Responsibility for Climate Change”

Yesterday a book launch of the Postdoctoral researcher Sanna Kopra’s new book took place at Tiedekulma. The event consisted of the book presentation and a panel discussion, moderated by Research fellow Emma Hakala (Finnish Institute of International Affairs). During the first part, Sanna Kopra presented the book and talked about the main themes it covers, namely how China sees its role in climate leadership.

Then at the panel Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Postdoctoral researcher Anna Kronlund  (John Morton -centre, Turku university) discussed the questions of how China, the United States and Russia define the responsibility of the great powers in international climate policy and to what extent are they willing to bear this responsibility now and in the future. Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen presented Russian views on climate change and Anna Kronlund spoke on the USA’s behalf.

After the presentations there was a question and answer session. The audience, which consisted of large number of people, was very engaged and asked good questions. The discussion was vivid and worthwhile.

The book launch was a complete success. It is always pleasant when listeners come to academic events, but is especially valuable when they attend discussions of such topical issues as climate change.

The GlobalArctic Handbook

“The GlobalArctic Handbook” edited by Matthias Finger and Lassi Heininen was published in July by Springer. Postdoctoral researcher Sanna Kopra wrote a chapter for the volume, titled “Climate Change and China’s Rise to Great Power Status: Implications for the Global Arctic”.

China’s rising great power status will shape the contemporary international order and generate transformation in international practices including in Arctic governance. This chapter investigates China’s emerging great power status and its implications for the Global Arctic, focusing in particular on China’s climate policies. The chapter asks whether and to what extent China’s Arctic engagement is motivated by climate change mitigation.

The book can be ordered here.