Categories
2020 Event

ASEEES 2020

ASEEES Convention takes place online this year, and our team participated in it this weekend virtually.

On Friday, the 6th of November, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was a discussant at the “Evaluating Energy Development in the Russian Arctic” panel. The aim of the panel was to evaluate energy development in the Russian Arctic from various viewpoints, including those of indigenous societies, businesses, governments, and foreign companies.

The next day, he and Elena Gorbacheva participated in the “Environment and Contemporary Culture IV: Discourses of Energy/Waste” panel. Professor Tynkkynen presented a paper “The ‘Visibility of Energy’ and Energy/Hydrocarbon Culture in Petrostates, and What We Can Learn from it in the Era of Climate Change“:

Oil and gas dependent countries tend to fortify the regime in power by several direct means that can be characterized as ‘naked’ power. Despite the fact that many regimes in Petrostates are highly authoritarian, and have the means and will to control the people by force, this form of power, however, is not sufficient nor efficient enough to maintain power. Therefore, oil and gas dependent countries, such as Russia, Nigeria and UAE, lean on a large spectrum of biopolitical objectives that are entangled with the narrative and practices concerning energy. The outcome is a specific form of geo-governmentality where the materialities and spatialities of oil and gas are utilized to produce a comprehensive narrative including economic, political, and identity-related justifications. Thus, a hydrocarbon culture is being constructed to produce loyal citizens that do not question the economic, political or environmental rational of the Petrostate.
Therefore, the era of climate change is a major challenge to the Petrostates’ regimes to maintain power, as the global energy transition ultimately aims at leaving the fossil era behind. Stitching oil and gas to the nationalistic narratives of Petrostates, aiming to build a hydrocarbon-culture identity, is a process that can, however, teach on a broader front how to combat climate change. The key is that within hydrocarbon cultures the materialities and spatialities – the geology, chemistry, geography and engineering – are made visible for the citizens: people in Russia and United Arab Emirates know, as they are taught by the national energy companies and ministries, how oil and gas is produced, refined and transported, and how these forms of energy are interwoven in the social, political and economic fabric of the society.

Elena Gorbacheva presented a paper “Environmental Mobilization in Russia: Case-study of Protests Against the Shies Landfill Construction”. The paper aimed to understand the dynamic of protest mobilisation against the Shies landfill construction (Arkhangelsk region, Russia) through the frames the protesters utilised.

The next day, on the 8th of November, Alla Bolotova gave a talk  “Soviet Mining Villages and Their Afterlife: From Rural to Urban and Back” at the panel “Late Soviet Village II: Things and Infrastructures between Rural and Urban“:

Mining industrialisation played a key role in formation of the structure of settlements in the Soviet Union. While mining cities attracted some attention among researchers, smaller mining villages were almost not studied yet. This paper deals with histories of several small mining settlements in the Soviet Arctic (Murmansk region), focusing on sense of place and interaction with the environment among residents.

Categories
2020 Media

Russian attitudes towards environmental issues

Margarita Zavadskaya and our team member Elena Gorbacheva wrote a piece on the changing attitudes of Russians towards environmental issues for RBC Trends section “Eco-nomica”. In their article, the researchers analysed the results of the World Values Survey and European Values Study over the past 20 years and outlined how Russians’ perceptions of certain environmental questions have been shifting. The researches addressed issues such as the importance of environmental protection over economic growth, the trust in environmental organisations, and the attitudes towards climate change. One of the interesting findings was that during 1994-2014, environmental protection was seen as an issue with more priority compared to economic growth.

The full version of the article is available in Russian.

Categories
general

Sanna Kopra & Matti Nojonen for HS

Our team member Sanna Kopra together with Matti Nojonen, Professor of Chinese Culture and Society, University of Lapland, wrote a guest column in the Helsingin Sanomat “Uuden Silkkitien investoinnit vesittävät Kiinan ilmastotavoitteet” (Investments in the new Silk Road will water down China’s climate goals). In the column, Kopra and Nojonen argue, that in order to become the climate leader that China wants to be, its Silk Road project should break away from the fossil economy.

Read the full column in Finnish online.

Categories
2020 Event

What mobilises people in Russia?

Today our team representatives, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Meri Kulmala took part together with journalist Jussi Konttinen in the Tiedekulma event “Mikä lii­kut­taa kan­saa Ve­nä­jäl­lä?” (What mobilises people in Russia?). The discussion was led by Ville Blåfield and focused on the politicization of local and social issues in Russia. Svetlana Erpyleva from Public Sociology Laboratory provided video comments.

When Moscow wanted to take its waste more than a thousand miles to Arkhangelsk region, the locals rose up to oppose the project. In addition to the widespread environmental protests, Russia has seen the mobilisation of citizens around other local issues that strongly affect people’s daily lives, such as construction and day care. What is everyday social and political activity in Russia like? Does the change in the system arise from everyday issues and protest-ready people? What is political in Russia?

The speakers discussed the concrete local problems and how sometimes they trespass regional borders and get politicised, like in Shiyes case, how local grievances can reveal problems on structural level, and how the people mobilise against them and what affects it. The discussion covered a broad range of issues and Russian areas from an expert point of view.

The recording of the discussion is available below:

 

Categories
2020 Event

EXALT Symposium 2020

Today Sohvi Kangasluoma participated in the Doctoral Students’ Conference 2020: (De)nat­ur­al­ising Ex­tract­iv­ism: In­vest­ig­at­ing its So­cial Or­ders and Res­ist­ances. She presented her paper “Narratives of Emotion and Extractivism in the framework of Global Capitalism” at the session “Extractivism and local identity negotiations: cases from the Arctic and the Baltics“.

Photo by Juho Karhu

In the talk, Sohvi presented her current work, focusing on Northern Norway. She explored the question of how does local oil and gas production impact peoples human security, and what kind of role do emotions have in that.  She concluded that the security narratives are complex as the local production is both the source of security and insecurity, and notes that the global capitalist/extractivist framework sets certain limits for crafting the narratives. In addition, she argued that the role of emotions should be crucial within the human security approach.

Categories
2020 Media

Interview for Czech media

Professor Tynkkynen gave an interview to the Czech media Seznam Zprávy, which was published in the article “Buď bude EU vůči Rusku jednotná, nebo slabší, říká finský expert na energetiku” (roughly translated as “The EU will either unite with Russia or will get weaker, says Finnish energy expert“). The interview covered a wide scope of issues, from Nord Stream 2 to Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power station and Fennovoima.

The full article in Czech can be read online.

Categories
2020 Media

Nord Stream 2 – kaikkien aikojen kallein hukkaputki?

New Helsingin Sanomat’ Sanoma Tekniikkajulkaisut issue “Ideat”  published a new piece “Kaikkien aikojen kallein hukkaputki?” (Most expensive spill pipe of all time?), for which Professor Tynkkynen provided comments. The article discusses Nord Stream 2 pipeline transporting natural gas from Russia to Europe and the challenges it creates and faces – from the repercussions of Navalny’s poisoning to the United States’ opposition to the project.

The full version of the article can be read online.

Categories
2020 Publication

“Ultimately, it may take a climate-related natural disaster to spur Russia toward sustainability.”

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen wrote an article “Could Russia Embrace an Energy Transition?” for the upcoming 819 issue of the “Current History” journal. Current History is the oldest publication devoted exclusively to international affairs published in the United States. The journal aims to observe and explain the profound changes transforming every region of the world, providing readers with a better understanding of today’s crucial events and pressing global trends through contributions from leading and emerging experts and scholars.

Fossil energy, political power, and climate denial are intertwined in Russia to such an extent that building support for an ambitious policy of reducing emissions and transitioning from a fossil-based energy system to a carbon-neutral one will be extremely difficult, even in the event that relatively more progressive leadership comes to power. But Russia has much more to gain than to lose from coming to terms with reality and seizing its opportunity to become a leader in the global shift to renewable energy

The full version of the article is available in PDF.

Categories
2020 Publication

special issue of Kosmopolis co-edited by Sanna Kopra and Miina Kaarkoski, is out

A new special issue of Kosmopolis, co-edited by Sanna Kopra and Miina Kaarkoski, is out. Alongside with co-writing editorial “Ilmasto kuumenee – muuttuuko turvallisuuspolitiikka?” (Climate is heating up – is the security politics changing?), Dr. Kopra also wrote an article “Suurvaltavastuu ja johtaus kansainvälisissä ilmastopolitiikassa. Englatilaisen koulukunnan näkökulma” (Great power responsibility and leadership in international climate policy. The perspective of the English school).

Categories
2020 Event

Leadership Symposium in Tampere

Today Tampere University organises Leadership Symposium (Johtajuussymposium), and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen is one of the panelists there.

Seminars and panels at the Leadership Symposium bring together representatives from the university, the business world and public administration over the themes of sustainability. The event provides eleven seminars with the impressive coverage of speeches from the top experts, as well as diverse perspectives on the theme of the day. Grab the challenge and move from words to deeds. Together, we can find solutions to the challenges of sustainable development!

Professor Tynkkynen was one of the speakers at the panel “Kestävä energia ja huoltovarmuus ” (Sustainable energy and security of supply) together with Pami Aalto (Jean Monnet -professor, Tampereen University), Arto Räty (Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communicatios, Fortum), and Harri Laurikka (toimitusjohtaja, Bioenergia ry).

In the vision of the EL-TRAN consortium, wind power, together with nuclear power and hydropower, will become the basic solution for Finnish energy production alongside the Nordic and wider European electricity trade. At the same time, bioenergy will remain part of the energy production solution, but partly in a new role. In public road traffic, there will be a shift to wind-assisted electrification, and in heavy road transport – to domestic biogas. Domestic biofuels are consumed, especially in maritime and air transport, in a mixed share. The problems of more weather-dependent electricity generation will be solved with various domestic flexible solutions that extend to ordinary households and also utilize electric car batteries in addition to bioenergy.

All this means that very few fossil fuels will be imported from abroad, while so far, among other things, Russian imports have accounted for about 45% of Finland’s primary energy consumption. The consequences are significant not only for security of supply issues in public administration, but also for energy companies in terms of both creative destruction and new business opportunities. All this also binds Finland much less to fossil fuel producers, while the importance of the Finnish market for them decreases.

Here is the video recording of the panel:

Learn more about the event at the Symposium’s webpage.