Category Archives: Publication

E-book “Chinese Policy and Presence in the Arctic” is published

An electronic version of the book co-edited by Professor Timo Koivurova and our team member Dr. Sanna Kopra has been published. The book is titled “Chinese Policy and Presence in the Arctic”  and offers a comprehensive account of China’s evolving interests, policies, and strategies in the Arctic region.

Despite its lack of geography north of the Arctic Circle, China’s presence in the High North is expected to grow in the coming years, which, in turn, is likely to speed up globalization in the region. This book brings together experts on China and the Arctic, each chapter contributing to a detailed overview of China’s diplomatic, economic, environmental, scientific and strategic presence in the Arctic and its influence on regional affairs. The book is of interest to students, scholars and those dealing with China’s foreign policy and Arctic affairs.

Apart from co-editing the volume, Sanna Kopra also co-wrote several chapters: “Introduction to China’s Arctic Engagement”, “China’s Arctic Policy”, “China’s Economic Presence in the Arctic: Realities, Expectations and Concerns”, “Conclusion: China’s Policy and Presence in the Arctic”, and “China, Climate Change and the Arctic Environment”. Our doctoral candidate, Karoliina Hurri, also participated in co-writing the latter one.

Get the e-version or order a hardback copy online.

China and its Arctic Trajectories: The Arctic Institute’s China Series 2020

The Arctic Institute has started its new China Series:

China’s Arctic engagement has increased considerably during the past decade, which has not only offered plentiful economic opportunities but also created new risks and concerns among the eight Arctic states, non-state actors, and peoples. To increase understanding of dimensions of Beijing’s Arctic activities, The Arctic Institute’s new China series probes into China’s evolving Arctic interests, policies, and strategies, and analyses their ramifications for the region (and beyond). Over the coming weeks, we will publish numerous articles and commentaries elaborating on the political, economic, environmental, and social dimensions of China’s Arctic involvement.

In the first article, Dr. Sanna Kopra provides a brief overview of the history of China and its Arctic policy, current economic activities in the area, and what does this engagement means for the environment and the future of the region.

The forthcoming articles of The Arctic Institute’s new China series do their bit in facilitating such cooperation by increasing understanding of the political, economic, and environmental dimensions of China’s Arctic engagement. Together, the articles will offer a comprehensive account of China’s policies and interests in the Arctic – highly recommended reading if we are to enhance international cooperation and secure a resilient future in the region.

Read the first article and follow the whole series at the Arctic Institute website.

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.

Arctic futures

The Ulkopolitist continues to publish “Arctic futures” series, edited by our PhD candidate Sohvi Kangasluoma. The latest article “Arktiset tulevaisuudet: Arktisen alueen tulevaisuus on sidottu ilmastonmuutokseen” (Arctic Futures: The future of the Arctic is tied to climate change), written by Sohvi herself, finishes the series.

Picture: Emilia Kangasluoma

Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects the world in different ways. It is anything but fair. The future of the Arctic is closely linked to the future of climate change. It is therefore a good idea for the Arctic and non-Arctic actors in the area to stop and ponder on the effects and motives of their actions. It is by no means sustainable to exploit the resources of a unique and vulnerable area without taking care of it. The Arctic must not be a place that is only exploited.

Read the article in its full at The Ulkopolitist website.

The Changing Nature of Russia’s Arctic Presence: A Case Study of Pyramiden

In February 2019 Alina Bykova, a Master’s student at the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto attended our “Russian and Post-socialist environment and energy” research seminar, where she presented a draft version of her Master’s thesis “The changing nature of Russia’s Arctic presence: a case study of Pyramiden”. For her thesis she also interviewed Professor Tynkkynen. The thesis examines the development of Soviet mining colonies on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard (Spitsbergen). Now the thesis is ready and was published as a short article on the Arctic Institute’s website.

“The Energy of Russia. Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change” is out

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s new book “The Energy of Russia. Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change” has been published.

This timely book analyses the status of hydrocarbon energy in Russia as both a saleable commodity and as a source of societal and political power. Through empirical studies in domestic and foreign policy contexts, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen explores the development of a hydrocarbon culture in Russia and the impact this has on its politics, identity and approach to climate change and renewable energy.

Cogent and compelling, this book demonstrates how the Russian state leverages its oil and gas reserves in order to create and maintain power both domestically and internationally. Tynkkynen uses empirical studies of key topics such as the national gas programme Gazprom, the Arctic, climate discourse and anthropogenic climate change denial, and the Russia-Finland energy trade to critically examine the situation. The book concludes with a convincing argument for the potential of renewable energy to build a more resilient and sustainable future for Russia and how this might be achieved.

This will prove crucial reading for scholars and students of Russian and Eastern European studies and energy and environmental studies, as well as geographers, anthropologists and political scientists. Those working in governments, international organizations and corporations with an interest in Russian energy will also find its insights useful.

The book can be ordered now online at the publisher’s website.

Additionally, there will be a book launch event organised on 17th of January 2020 at Tiedekulma from 13 to 14. More information can be found on event page on Facebook.

“A Research Agenda for Climate Justice” is out

“A Research Agenda for Climate Justice”, edited by Paul G. Harris and published by Edward Elgar Publishing, is out.

Climate change will bring great suffering to communities, individuals and ecosystems. Those least responsible for the problem will suffer the most. Justice demands urgent action to reverse its causes and impacts. In this provocative new book, Paul G. Harris brings together a collection of original essays to explore alternative, innovative approaches to understanding and implementing climate justice in the future. Through investigations informed by philosophy, politics, sociology, law and economics, this Research Agenda reveals how climate change is a matter of justice and makes concrete proposals for more effective mitigation.

In this volume you can find a chapter by Sanna Kopra, titled “Responsibility for climate justice: the role of great powers”.

More information about the book can be found on publisher’s website.

China in the Polar “Zone of Peace”

Sanna Kopra wrote an article for the Ecowall – a collaborative research platform seeking a clearer picture of the China-Europe relationship in all its dimensions, The article is titled “China in the Polar “Zone of Peace”” and aims to answer a question “what kind of security risks for the Arctic states and peoples could accompany China’s regional engagement?”

At present, however, the emerging security impact of China’s growing Arctic foothold remains mainly political and economic in nature. If the economies of northern municipalities or entire Arctic states become very dependent on Chinese investments, their vulnerability to fluctuations in the Chinese economy, for example, may increase. Such economic dependence might also result in political pressure to pay greater attention to China’s interests in political decision-making at a local or national level, even to a degree that Arctic states’ own values and national interests – including long-term economic interests – are adversely affected.

Read article online here.

Modernization of Russian district heating systems with the help of biomass energy – A Gordian knot?

Doctoral Candidate Hilma Salonen published her new article “Modernization of Russian district heating systems with the help of biomass energy – A Gordian knot?” in “Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions” journal.

The article discusses the prospects of local wood waste resources as replacements for fossil fuel imports in the remote settlements of the Russian North from a viewpoint of a case study: the Arkhangelsk region and its outdated heating and fossil fuel delivery systems. Drawing on energy transition literature and expert interviews, the most influential factors are defined in geographic-infrastructural, institutional, financial, and behavioral contexts. In conclusion, the article determines that a key issue is that the constraints for alternative energy sources reinforce each other, while the actors working for them find themselves in an isolated position. This is especially true for the institutional and financial constraints. However, by examining the enabling factors it is possible to see how the bundle of constraints could also be undone together. Most efficient way for success would likely be helping municipalities and actors in the fields of biomass and energy production to form joint clusters and share resources.

This enlightening article can be read online.

Nadir Kinossian’s review of the “Russia’s Far North: The contested Energy Frontier”

Nadir Kinossian wrote a review of the “Russia’s Far North: The contested Energy Frontier” book, edited by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Shinichiro Tabata, Daria Gritsenko and Masanori Goto.

This is a timely and important book because it addresses a number of critical issues shaping the future of the Arctic, such as energy, transportation, sustainability, security, international cooperation, and economic development. Russia has historically been a prominent player in the Arctic and currently is seeking to increase its presence there. Russias activities aimed to exploit the untapped natural resources, upgrade the Northern Sea Route (NSR), claim extended parts of the Arctic continental shelf, and boost its military presence in the region attract growing attention in academic and policy circles. Russia is not a sole actor seeking to use the regions natural resources. Arctic and non-Arctic states, as well as non-state players, seek to explore economic opportunities in the region, which suggests that governing regimes for the Arctic have to respond to the increasing number of actors, interests, and risks associated with economic activities in the region.

The title of this edited volume, Russias Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier , implies the somewhat uncertain status of Russias northern peripheries, their openness for colonization, competition, and possibly contestation. To what extent is such vision of the region accurate?The authors apply various disciplinary perspectives to analyze actors, regimes, and processes that shape the future of the Arctic. While dierent chapters contribute to the debates in specic policy areas, the volume oers an overview of Russias Far North as a dynamic area of governance and policy. The books comprehensive scope makes it extremely valuable for researchers and policy-makers interested in the Arctic. As a detailed reection on all 15 chapters in this edited volume would be an impossibility, this review has to be selective.

The review is published in the latest issue of “Polar Geography” and can be read here.