A new publication “Leadership in Global Environmental Politics” by Sanna Kopra is published in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies under the “Environment, International Relations Theory” subject in August. In the paper, Dr. Kopra provides a conceptual map of leadership in global environmental politics.
There is wide consensus among global environmental politics (GEP) scholars about the urgent need for leadership in international climate negotiations and other environmental issue areas A large number of GEP studies elaborate rhetoric and actions of aspiring leaders in GEP. In particular, these studies seek to identify which states have sought to provide leadership in international negotiations on the environment, and how they have exercised this role in institutional bargaining processes at the international level. The biggest share of GEP studies generally focus on leadership in environmental governance within the United Nations (UN), and international negotiations on climate under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in general, or the role of the European Union (EU) in those negotiations in particular. Many GEP scholars have also investigated the leadership role of the United States in international environmental regime formation, whereas there are no systematic investigations concerning China’s leadership in GEP. In addition to the states, GEP literature identifies a wide range of other actors as potential leaders (and followers) in environmental issue areas: international organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations, cities, religious organizations, social movements, politicians, and even individuals.
Since leadership is a social relation, a growing number of scholars have moved to study perceptions of leadership and to conceptualize the relationship between leaders and followers. GEP scholars also identify some qualitative aspects a leader must have in order to attract followers. Many empirical studies show that despite the EU’s aspiration to be a climate leader, it is not unequivocally recognized as such by others. At the same time, it seems that some forms of leadership, especially those based on unilateral action, do not necessarily require followers and recognition by others. In addition to the leader–follower relationship, the motivation of leadership constitutes one of the key controversies among GEP scholars. Some argue that self-interest is a sufficient driver of leadership, while others claim that leaders must act for the common good of a wider constituency (or at least be perceived to do so). To conclude, most scholars studying leadership in GEP regard structural leadership (based on material capabilities and hard power) as an important type of leadership. Much less attention has been paid to the social dimensions of leadership; this is undoubtedly a gap in the literature that prospective studies ought to fill.
Learn more about the publication here.
Helsingin sanomat new article “Venäjän suhde metsiinsä poikkeaa paljon Suomesta: Miljoonia hehtaareita on tänäkin vuonna palanut, ja vain murto-osaa paloista on edes yritetty sammuttaa” (Russia’s relationship with its forests differs a lot from Finland: Millions of hectares have been burned this year as well, and only a fraction of the fires have even been tried to be extinguished) discusses Russian forest policy and the massive forest fires going on in the country every summer; this year the burnt area is equal to the size of Czech Republic. Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was interviewed about this catastrophic situation.
in Russian federal policy and from the point of view of state revenue, forests are a secondary resource and not as important as oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power.
“Of course, the forest sector is regionally important in Northwest Russia, Central Siberia and the Russian Far East,” says Tynkkynen.
Professor Tynkkynen also drew parallels with last year’s Amazon rainforest wildfires and finds problematic the difference in the attitude of the international community towards Russia and Brazil and their dealing with the fires:
The European Union considered boycotting Brazilian cattle, partly because of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s forest policy.
Bolsonaro encouraged farmers and ranchers to clear the land by lighting forest fires.
With regard to Russian forest fires, the EU did not challenge the forest policy of the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration at all and the way how forests are treated as part of other natural resource policies.
“The oil and gas industry are equal risk factors for forest fires, but no one discussed that it should be discussed. No one asked if we would buy gas and oil from Russia or not, ”says Tynkkynen.
Russia has expressed that it will not tolerate interference by foreign powers in its internal affairs. According to Tynkkynen, a comparison between Brazil and Russia shows that in Europe, including Finland, Russia is treated with silk gloves because its reaction is feared.
A new book “Urban Sustainability in the Arctic. Measuring Progress in Circumpolar Cities” was published this summer by Berghahn Books. The book is edited by Robert W. Orttung and is a result of the Arctic PIRE project.
Urban Sustainability in the Arctic advances our understanding of cities in the far north by applying elements of the international standard for urban sustainability (ISO 37120) to numerous Arctic cities. In delivering rich material about northern cities in Alaska, Canada, and Russia, the book examines how well the ISO 37120 measures sustainability and how well it applies in northern conditions. In doing so, it links the Arctic cities into a broader conversation about urban sustainability more generally.
Stephanie Hitztaler and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen wrote a chapter for the book titled “What Do ISO Indicators Tell Us about Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in Cities of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia?”
This chapter uses several ISO 37120 indicators to measure the contribution of corporate social responsibility to the cities of the natural-gas-producing Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Some of the indicators show the benefits of such programs, especially in the area
of building new sports facilities. But despite this improvement in the sustainability ranking as measured by this indicator, the ongoing fossil fuel extraction and Gazprom’s overall impact on the area reduce the city’s sustainability. In this sense, ISO indicators can be cherry
picked in ways that are deceptive in terms of a corporation’s overall impact on urban sustainability.
You can learn more about the book and order it online from the publisher’s website.
Our Doctoral Candidate Sohvi Kangasluoma got a grant for her dissertation from Nordenskiöld-Samfundet. Nordenskiöld-Samfundet is a society aimed at promoting geographical, scientific, and cultural-historical research on the archipelago. With the help of the grant, Sohvi Kangasluoma will continue to study the effect of the Arctic oil and gas industry on human security. Congratulations, Sohvi!
Today Helsingin Sanomat published an article “Venäläisen voimalan varjossa” (In the shadow of the Russian power plant), telling a story of the Astravets nuclear power plant. The power plant is the first one to be built in Belarus after the Chernobyl disaster – in the country that took the harshest consequences of the nuclear accident.
Commenting on the issue, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen encourages not to look at the nuclear sector separately –
Different sectors are interconnected. Nuclear diplomacy is an extension of hydrocarbon culture. Russia finances the nuclear power plant trade with oil and gas money
Read the full article online at Helsingin Sanomat.
Jesse Swann-Quinn (PhD, Department of Geography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University) wrote a review on Professor Tynkkynen’s book “The energy of Russia: hydrocarbon culture and climate change”. The review is published in the “Eurasian Geography and Economics” journal.
As COVID-19 spread globally in the winter and spring of 2020, the governments of Russia and Saudi Arabia upended oil markets. They had failed to agree on a response to collapsing demand within the global oil supply chain, causing crude prices to temporarily drop below zero in some markets. Though shocking, this crisis response was presaged in a letter to Vladimir Putin a year earlier when Igor Sechin – the head of Russia’s state oil and gas company, Rosneft, and a Putin confidant – purportedly argued that agreeing to cut oil output within the OPEC+ coalition posed a “strategic threat” to Russia. While framing Russia as threatened by external geopolitical and market forces, Sechin simultaneously characterized Russia as a global energy superpower, fortified by “the availability of quality recoverable oil reserves, necessary infrastructure and personnel.” (Korsunskaya and Astakhova 2019). In making this argument to Putin, Sechin invoked powerful scripts of Russia’s energy, identity, and space, which Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen deconstructs in his short and illuminating book The Energy of Russia: Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change (2019).
Read the full review on the journal website.
The first article of our Doctoral student Karoliina Hurri was published this month in the “Environmental Development” journal. In the article titled “Rethinking climate leadership: Annex I countries’ expectations for China’s leadership role in the post-Paris UN climate negotiations“, Karoliina discusses climate leadership expectations for China.
Developed countries, defined in the global climate negotiations as the Annex I countries, have been expected to take the lead in tackling climate change. However, given the severity of climate change, reducing China’s emissions is critical. China is a developing country with world’s highest emissions and a leader in the renewable sector. Hence, outside expectations for China’s climate action have been growing. Through constructivist role theory, the article researched what external expectations there are for China’s potential climate leadership role. The leadership expectations of developed countries were examined from the UN climate conference high-level segment statements from 2016 to 2018. Results of the discourse analysis explain the expectations in six storylines: 1) all parties are placed on the same line, 2) the dichotomy of developing and developed countries is deconstructed, 3) the position of developing countries is highlighted, 4) China has a greater responsibility than non-Annex or a regular party, 5) China is recognized as a climate actor, and 6) China is excluded as a major player. The expectations recognize China’s structural climate leadership but acknowledging China as a global climate leader might pose a role conflict for the developed countries. The conclusion suggests that this acknowledgement would require developed countries to rethink their own climate leadership and assign the role with China.
The article can be read online on the ScienceDirect website.
The Arctic institute’s China Series, coordinated by Dr. Sanna Kopra, are approaching their end. In the last post, Kopra gives final remarks on China and its Arctic trajectories.
When we began to put together The Arctic Institute’s China series in the beginning of this year, little did we know about what was about to happen due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, it is not difficult to imagine that far-ranging consequences of the pandemic will reshape economic and political dynamics in the Arctic region. Will the pandemic constitute an exogenous shock that triggers fundamental change in international order, including the regional order in the Arctic? What kind of role will China play in the reconstruction of the Arctic economy and what are geopolitical and environmental consequences?
Read the full version of the text on the Arctic Institute’s website.
Today Forum for Environmental Information released a publication, based on the YHYS Policy dialogue 2020, that was held on the 25th of May. The publication is titled “Miten turvataan ruoka ja energia haavoittuvassa maailmassa?” (How to secure food and energy in a vulnerable world?).
We received the first taste of the vulnerability of food and energy systems with the corona crisis. The Spring 2020 Policy Dialogue sought ways how to produce food and energy sustainably well into the future, while at the same time better preparing for the threats of our time: pandemics, climate change, and security threats. Increasing self-sufficiency and local models are part of new, more sustainable food and energy systems. In order for complex systems to change, it is essential to make them understandable and to bring them closer to both policy makers and consumers.
Our Doctoral candidate Sakari Höysniemi, who participated in the discussion in May, also contributed to the publication.
“Even though the world of the future is more electronic, we need to think about how to electrify everything. I would like to see a reflection on the energy visions of transport, whether by changing the current car pool from oil to electricity, or whether by reducing the number of private cars at the same time. Public transport, walking and cycling are much more efficient modes of transport in terms of the use of natural resources than having every Finn move alone in their own car. ”
The publication is available for reading online.
On the 29th of May, 21,000 m3 of diesel oil spilled in Russian town Norilsk (Krasnoyarsk Krai) from a fuel storage tank. Nornickel company claimed that the melting of permafrost on which the tank was built resulted in the accident. The oil contaminated an area of more than 350 square kilometres, including the Daldykan and the Ambarnaya rivers – one of the largest oil spill disasters in the world. For first 2 days after the spillage occurred, the authorities did not take any action before the mass and social media started to talk about the disaster. On the 3d of June, the accident was proclaimed a federal-level emergency.
This morning Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen gave his comments on the situation at the Ykkösaamu programme. To learn more about the disaster, listen to the discussion with Professor Tynkkynen and Kirsten Jörgensen, leading researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute, starting from 59:49 at Yle Areena.