Monthly Archives: February 2020

New energy trends in the Russian Arctic: Could Russia lead the way in becoming a climate leader?

Our doctoral candidates Hilma Salonen and Sohvi Kangasluoma wrote together an article titled “New energy trends in the Russian Arctic: Could Russia lead the way in becoming a climate leader?” for the Baltic Rim Economies journal.

As the global climate movement has expanded, as well as the effects of climate change have become more visible, it is becoming rather evident that no country can overlook the implications of climate change. Even as Russia’s focus in the National action plan focuses on the adaptation to climate change and prepares to reap the benefits of the opening Northern Sea Route, some observers point out that Russia continues to have all the potential (renewable energy resources, skilled workforce) to become a forerunner in action against climate change. Investing in decentralized, smaller-scale projects would not necessarily entail economic losses or less international prestige. This direction seems rather unlikely in the context of the current fossil fuel regime, and there is no reason for heedless optimism. However, it will be interesting to see how the objective to adapt to climate change without making radical changes in the current socio-economic system will hold in the future.

The article was published today and can be read online.

Russian new giant icebreaker

Aamulehti published an article “Jättiläismäinen jäänmurtaja ei varmista vain arktista väylää, vaan myös Putinin valtaa – väistynyt pääministeri ehti vielä päättää maailman suurimman megajäänmurtajan rahoituksesta” (Giant icebreaker not only secures Arctic passage but also Putin’s power – the retired prime minister has yet to decide on funding for the world’s largest mega-icebreaker).

Lider icebreaker, which is larger than the Baltic Sea cruisers, should secure the North Sea Passage for large vessels all year round. According to the researcher, additional power is also needed for the use of power: Russia, and its leadership in particular, is heavily dependent on the fossil resources of the Arctic.

Professor Tynkkynen was approached for the comments:

Extra power is needed in the Arctic not just to break the ice. According to the investigator, Lider also secures passages in President Vladimir Putin’s “ocean”.

– The economic and political power of the Putin regime is intertwined with Arctic oil and gas. It is their own assurance, says Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Assistant Professor of Russian Environmental Policy at the University of Helsinki.

He points out that 70 to 80 percent of the country’s known oil and gas reserves are located in the Arctic. Due to the climate crisis, there is a growing opportunity to exploit them all the time.

You can read more about Russian Arctic plans and aspirations in this online article.

Challenges and opportunities of the Arctic region: Launch of new scientific report

Today the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis  IIASA presented a new scientific analysis of the Arctic – a region on the front lines of climate change, geopolitics, and global governance.

The report, Arctic Policies and Strategies, is written by IIASA alumni Lassi Heininen, Karen Everett, Barbora Padrtova, and Anni Reissell, and analyses 56 key policy documents to identify trends in Arctic governance and geopolitics. It considers how different Arctic actors define and address issues around the human dimension, governance, environmental protection, climate change, safety, economy, and science. The report was produced as part of the IIASA Arctic Futures Initiative and was co-funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and IIASA.

Doctor Sanna Kopra, alongside Ambassador (emeritus) Aleksi Härkönen and Professor Alexander Sergunin, provided comments on the report, after Professor Lassi Heininen presented the work.

More information on the event can be found here.

Review of “The Energy of Russia. Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change”

Talouselämä published a review on Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s latest book “The Energy of Russia. Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change”. The review, titled “Kirjat: Onko Venäjällä toivoa muutoksesta? Energia on Putinin samettinen rautahanska” (Books: Is there hope for change in Russia? Energy is Putin’s velvet iron glove), is written by Matti Kankare and is available for Talouselämä subscribers.

Kirkenes conference

Today Dr. Sanna Kopra participates in the Kirkenes Conference in the “A Changing World” panel, where the topic of the discussion is “China as a driver: Opportunities and challenges”.

One recent big and timely trend we want to shed light on is themed as ‘A Changing Worldview’. We are starting with China, which is driving a changing worldview in the North and the Barents region; changes that bring both new opportunities, but also some challenges.

Sanna Kopra on Marja Sannikka’s show

Last Friday you could have caught Dr. Sanna Kopra on Yle on Marja Sarikka’s show. Sanna was interviewed in the episode “Suomen ilmastoteot ovat yhtä tyhjän kanssa” (Finland’s climate actions are equal to nothing), Dr. Kopra spoke about China’s climate policy.

The interview starts at approximately 22nd minute.

Arctic futures

The Ulkopolitist continues to publish “Arctic futures” series, edited by our PhD candidate Sohvi Kangasluoma. The latest article “Arktiset tulevaisuudet: Arktisen alueen tulevaisuus on sidottu ilmastonmuutokseen” (Arctic Futures: The future of the Arctic is tied to climate change), written by Sohvi herself, finishes the series.

Picture: Emilia Kangasluoma

Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects the world in different ways. It is anything but fair. The future of the Arctic is closely linked to the future of climate change. It is therefore a good idea for the Arctic and non-Arctic actors in the area to stop and ponder on the effects and motives of their actions. It is by no means sustainable to exploit the resources of a unique and vulnerable area without taking care of it. The Arctic must not be a place that is only exploited.

Read the article in its full at The Ulkopolitist website.