Sanna Kopra’s new article “Lead the Way: China and international climate politics” for the Baltic Transport Journal

Sanna Kopra’s new article “Lead the Way: China and international climate politics” for the Baltic Transport Journal’s October-November issue has been made available online. In the article, Dr. Kopra reviews China’s climate policy, the role of a global leader on climate change that China aims to undertake, and the country’s interest in the Arctic.

After last summer’s devastating forest fires and sweltering heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere, the global consciousness of climate change has increased dramatically. As President Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first-ever universal global climate deal adopted in 2015, the world has started to expect China, alongside the EU, to step up its emerging leadership role on climate change. In my newly published book China and great power responsibility for climate change I come to a conclusion that China indeed seems to be ready to live up to that leadership role: it increasingly defines climate responsibility as an attribute of great power responsibility and has made all its key climate policies public with a reference to its great power status.

The article can be read online here.

Calotte Academy 2018

In December the report on the 2018 Calotte Academy “Discourses on the Arctic – (inter)disciplinary theories and methods of Arctic research’, edited by Gerald Zojer and Jussi Huotari, was released.

The 2018 Calotte Academy, arranged in June 3 – 10, 2018, consisted of lively academic and expert discussion on current and interesting Arctic topics, some outdoor activities, singing and dancing, and traveling through the Barents Region, from Rovaniemi via Inari, Neiden and Kirkenes, Nikel, Murmansk and Apatity, and back to Rovaniemi.
In 2018 this annual, travelling scientific gathering and doctoral school took an explicit focus on discourses on the Arctic, and disciplinary theories and methods of Arctic research. Several topics – such as power of map-representations, the frontiers as nation-maker, Arctic as a pop phenomenon, indigeneity and at the crossroad of western & indigenous epistemologies, protesting insecurity, from information to cyber society, local-community-based research – were presented by 48 speakers from all over the Arctic region and Europe in the 11 sessions of the event.

From our team PhD students Jussi Huotari, Karoliina Hurri, and Hilma Salonen took part in the travelling symposium. Karoliina gave a presentation “The Arctic Strategy of China: The discourse of climate change” at “China and the Arctic” session. The presentation was followed by a group discussion:

Karoliina Hurri’s presentation, The Potential of Climate Change to Construct the Space of Global Climate Governance, focused on China’s role in international climate politics and its relation to the Arctic. Driven by domestic and international politics, in recent years China has changed its position regarding climate change. The country sees it now as a security threat and as a possibility for development as well as new economic activities (such as shipping). The presentation also delved into the interdependencies between geopolitical discourses and identity. Because China’s position has change, it cannot use old discourses. The presentation also revised the different discourses that China has to use in different fora. In such fora (i.e. BRICS, Arctic -outside UN- as well as G-77 and BASIC frame/UNFCCC -within the UN umbrella-), China identifies itself as a near-Arctic state in its Arctic strategy, in a dynamic and adaptive manner. For instance, at BASIC climate change is seen as an inequality question (caused by developed countries and suffered by developing countries), and China’s role is passive -albeit as a leader for developing countries; whereas in the Arctic context, it is seen as a global phenomenon which builds on the common future, while China’s role is active (as part of the solution).
The group discussion focused on the historical view of climate politics from the viewpoint of China, the depth of the fora in which the research focuses, whether and how the perceptions or reflections of third countries change as a result of China’s polyvalent positions, quantitative and qualitative aspects of discourse analyses, the level to which the same individuals take place in the fora (linked to age and gender), the evolution of Chinese discourses in the fora, the connection with other Chinese policies (e.g. development, commerce, or economics), the Icelandic-Chinese and broader China-Nordic countries relations, the central role and weight of China in particular fora (i.e., the G77 or BRICS group).

Jussi Huotari presented his work “The Barents Sea and the evolvement of energy security” at “The Environment and Security” session:

Jussi Huotari analysed energy security in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region in the framework
of geopolitics-security-environmental nexus. Jussi proposed several dichotomies, which are relevant in the analysis of energy security issues in the BEAR. These dichotomies include “producer vs customer”; “transit states” (e.g. Russia vs Ukraine); “economic vs environmental vs human security” etc. Also, taking into account the future developments, “4 As” of energy security have to be considered: availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability of energy resources.
The follow-up discussion was concentrated around the question, proposed by the author, i.e. “Is, or will be, or could be the BEAR new (energy) Eldorado?” There are some factors, which favors this idea (geopolitical stability, huge resource potential, ice-free sea, new transport routes, great global demand etc.). However, many participants were rather critical to this idea, stating that environmental issues should be taken into account more seriously, and that environmental narrative shall be dominative narrative in security issues in the Barents region.

Hilma Salonen talked about “Renewable energy solutions for Russian Arctic off-grid settlement: network of distancies and dependencies” at “Energy Solutions for Russian Arctic” session:

Salonen discussed about the networks of energy supplies in the Russian Arctic and especially in the region of Sakha Republic. The usage of renewable energy sources has increased recently but also traditional sources are still used. Salonen approaches her topic through networking analysis and has created a network map based on her previous studies. The conversation after the presentation touched upon e.g. questions concerning the road infrastructure during different seasons and different energy producers. When it comes to production of renewable energy, the markets are open also for the private companies, even though the number of private enterprises is lower than state owned companies. Suggestions to view also the relationships inside of the network was raised.

Full version of the report on the 2018 Calotte Academy, abstracts of the presentations, and more information on the symposium can be read online here.


Karoliina Hurri’s article on COP24 at Politiikasta

PhD candidate Karoliina Hurri wrote an article for Politiikasta about her experience at the COP24 conference in Katowice on Climate Change. In the article “Mitä Katowicen jälkeen?” (What happens after Katowice?) Karoliina ponders whether the rulebook adopted at the conference would be enough to maintain the credibility of the Paris Agreement.

Without the ambitious rulebook, the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement is in jeopardy. The Kyoto Protocol, which preceded the Paris Agreement, was signed in 1997 but did not enter into force until 2005, precisely because of the slow pace of reaching consensus. The Kyoto Protocol’s effect on reducing emissions has been criticized as inadequate.

Hopefully, the Paris Agreement will avoid this fate. Kurtyka, president of the Polish conference, said that without Katowice’s success, the Paris Agreement cannot succeed either.

Read the full version of Karoliina Hurri’s account of the COP24 conference at Politiikasta.

Kiina hiipii tunturiin

Helsingin Sanomat published an excellent longread “Kiina hiipii tunturiin” (China sneaks into fell) with loads of infographics, that delves into China’s Arctic policy and its activity in Lapland and Finland in general.

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was interviewed for the article:

“China’s strategy is that it pursues increasing political influence internationally through economic influence. After all, it is clear that China, which invests heavily in Finland and brings tourists there, also has an economical leverage on Finland. This may, for example, affect how Finland may speak internationally about China. “

Read the article online here.

Conference “The Chinese Way, The New Normal?” in Belgium

On 17th-18th of December Sanna Kopra is attending  Conference “The Chinese Way, The New Normal?” organised in Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Sanna presented her paper “Climate Responsibility under the Belt and Road Initiative” at the “China normsetting ambitions” panel on Monday, 17th of December.

More information on the event can be found here.

Karoliina Hurri for Dagens Nyheter

Largest Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter published an article about the  Katowice Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 24) on Saturday, 15 of December. The article is titled “Kina redo att gå i täten för miljön – men inte utan en stark partner” (China ready to be environmental leader – but not without a strong partner).

Karoliina Hurri, PhD student from our team, was interviewed for the article. Karoliina attended the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland last week and  she specialises in the China’s role in the global climate governance. Her interview in Swedish can be read online here.

Katowice Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 24)

This week our doctoral student Karoliina Hurri is taking part in the Katowice Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 24), organised in Poland.
The conference includes the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) and the third part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1-3). The conference also includes the 49th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), and the seventh part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-7).

The conference is expected to finalize the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change under the Paris Agreement work programme (PAWP). It also includes a number of high-level events, mandated events, action events and roundtables.

More information on the event is available online.

Venäjä ja ympäristönsuojelu – mikä on suunta?

Today the event  Venäjä ja ympäristönsuojelu –mikä on suunta? (Russia and environmental protection – what is the direction?)  was organised  in the New Wing of the Parliament.
Ivan Blokov introduced his book ”Environment and its protection in Russia over the last 25 years” in a public lecture. PhD Ivan Blokov is a well-known figure in Russian environmental protection. He has been a citizen activist, a scientist and last years he has been working for Greenpeace Russia in Moscow.

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen commented on Dr. Blokov’s presentation and participated in the discussion. The event was organised by Mr. Pekka Haavisto, the Green Party MP.

More information on the event can be found from Facebook event page

Arctic Media World Congress in Salekhard

The International Circumpolar Mass Media Congress “Arctic Media World” dedicated to the anniversary of formation of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, is organised in Salekhard, Russia, from 9th to 11th of December. More than 200 representatives of the media community based in circumpolar territories will participate in the event. Journalists from seven countries (Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Finland, Norway, the United States of America and Sweden) and eight Arctic regions of the Russian Federation will be united in one venue in Yamal.
Dmitry Yagodin and Lauri Lähteenmäki from our team are taking part in the congress.

The Congress is aimed to involve representatives of arctic mass media in the discussion of urgent problems of the arctic development with the government and public, to share experience, to build relations and partnership in coverage of different topics of the Arctic agenda between journalists worldwide.

The focus of the Congress is to show the connection between such processes as the exploration of Yamal and the preservation of national culture of indigenous peoples of the North. That’s why on the first day of the program a daylong tour of the settlement Sabetta was provided. Guests visited its International airport and the seaport of Sabetta considered to be a key object of the Northern Sea Route; existing produce volume of the plant “Yamal-Liquefied Natural Gas” will be observed; the Arctic LNG project was presented.

More information on the congress.

Yle’s new article “Kremlin sisäpiiriläisiä vai onnekkaita yrittäjiä? Näin tuntematon suomalaiskaksikko hoitaa rikkaiden venäläisten bisneksiä”

Yle published a new article “Kremlin sisäpiiriläisiä vai onnekkaita yrittäjiä? Näin tuntematon suomalaiskaksikko hoitaa rikkaiden venäläisten bisneksiä” (Kremlin insiders or lucky entrepreneurs? This is how unknown Finnish duo manages rich Russian businesses), which has Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s interview in it.

The article is investigating who are the Finnish citizens Svetlana Kotiranta and Juri Tikhomirov, whom the Russian state trusts in their businesses.

– The fact that this duo of Russian Finns has been involved in the energy trade – and even the one with the Russian state-owned company Gazprom – tells that they are not just straw men Only the carefully selected insiders are allowed to benefit from  the energy trade flows, says a Russian energy sector specialist Tynkkynen.

Read the full article online here.