Sohvi Kangasluoma’s book review of the “Resources, Social and Cultural Sustainabilities in the Arctic” has been published in The Yearbook of Polar Law Online. The book is edited by Monica Tennberg, Hanna Lempinen, and Susanna Pirnes and
is a timely and needed piece on Arctic sustainabilities and resources. The driving force throughout the book is the concept of resources and their entanglements with sustainabilit(ies). The question of resources is approached from a wide, innovative viewpoint. In the midst of the global rush towards the energy re-sources of the Arctic, this volume offers an inspiring reminder of what can be approached as a resource. For the editors of the work resources are understood as socially and culturally constructed components, and their connection with Arctic sustainabilities is discussed from various viewpoints. The geographical context of the book is the European Arctic, however, several of the themes are also relevant for the broader circumpolar world. The volume is part of the Routledge Research in Polar Regions series, which offers a rather extensive out-look to the Arctic and Antarctic research.
The review can be found online.
“Research Handbook on Communicating Climate Change”, edited by David C. Holmes and Lucy M. Richardson, is out. Drawing together key frameworks and disciplines that illuminate the importance of communication around climate change, this Research Handbook offers a vital knowledge base to address the urgency of conveying climate issues to a variety of audiences. Our postdoc Dmitry Yagodin wrote a chapter for the volume titled “The unearthed and contagious logics of pluralist climate justice in the Russian Arctic”.
Learn more about the handbook on the publisher’s website.
Our Doctoral candidate, Sohvi Kangasluoma, had her first article published in the special issue of the Polar Record. The article, titled “Drilling for the future: Gendered justifications of the Arctic fossil fuel industry”, through feminist discussions explores how old and gas companies, Norwegian Equinor and Russian Gazprom & Gazprom Neft, try to create a compelling image of themselves on their webpages.
Despite the global alarm caused by accelerating climate change, hydrocarbon companies are exploring and opening up new oil and gas fields all over the world, including the Arctic. With increasing attention on the Arctic, companies address the growing global environmental pressure in their public marketing in various ways. This article examines the webpages of Norwegian Equinor and Russian Gazprom & Gazprom Neft. Building on feminist discussions, I analyse the different justification strategies these fossil fuel companies working in the Arctic utilise in order to support their ongoing operations. This article concludes that in order to justify their operations in the Arctic, the Norwegian and Russian companies emphasise values based on discourses that have historically and culturally been associated with masculine practices, such as the control of nature enabled by technology. These justifications are thus reinforcing the narrative of the Arctic as a territory to be conquered and mastered. Even though the companies operate in different sociopolitical contexts, the grounds of justification are rather similar. Their biggest differences occur in their visual presentations of gender, which I argue is part of the justification. Approaching the fossil fuel industry from a feminist perspective allows questioning the dominant conceptualisations, which the justifications of Arctic hydrocarbon companies are based on.
The article can be found online.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.