Daily Archives: 28.2.2020

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.