MERMAID policy brief

Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities published a new policy brief “Finland’s Journey towards the Forefront of Responsible Arctic Development – Recommendations” by MERMAID-project researchers.

This Policy Brief presents an executive summary of the recommendations and measures for Finland’s journey toward responsible Arctic development, as identified in the MERMAID-project. The focus is on general issues and business, with a special focus on the maritime cluster and tourism sector. Furthermore, the Policy Brief contains a summary of the future scenarios constructed during the project. The consequences of the recommendations, the conditions for successful implementation, and risks have been analysed with respect to these scenarios.
MERMAID is part of the implementation of the 2014 Government plan for analysis, assessment and research.

Read the policy brief in English or in Finnish.

Idäntutkimus Arctic issue

The latest issue of Idäntutkimus was published last month and is devoted to the Arctic. Several researchers of our team have contributed to the issue. Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen wrote an editorial titled “Venäjän arktisen uusi suunta?” (New direction of Russia’s Arctic?). Together with Daria Gritsenko he also co-authored an article “Arktinen Venäjän poliittisessa viestinnässä” (Arctic in Russian political communications). Hilma Salonen’s essay “Venäjän arktinen energia – tavoitteita ja realiteetteja” (Russian Arctic energy – goals and reality) can be read here.

More information on the issue is available on the Idäntutkimus website.

MERMAID project final report

Research recommendations on responsible development of the Arctic region

There are many ways to boost Finland’s Arctic expertise and opportunities for influence in international Arctic operations. The MERMAID project, coordinated by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, focused in particular on developing the maritime cluster and the tourism sector. The project’s final report was published on 7 March in the publication series of government analysis, assessment and research activities.

The report was commissioned with Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in mind, which starts at the beginning of 2017. The final report includes recommendations and proposed action to strengthen Finland s Arctic expertise. It also analyses the role of Russia in the Arctic region.

The future of the Arctic region up to 2035 was examined by means of three different scenarios of the future.  In the scenarios, the most important factors shaping the region were climate change and its impact on the conditions in the region, the geopolitical situation and the advancement of arctic technology. The report also took the global economy and global fossil fuel markets into account. The measures proposed in the report make it possible to develop the Arctic region responsibly and take all parties into consideration.

The recommendations for promoting the general development of the Arctic region range from climate change considerations to improving the status of the Sami to enhancing the management of research, business, investment and catastrophies.

– The unique environnment and culture of the Arctic region, for instance, which are under pressure from globalisation and climate change, must be safeguarded in the future. We must also make sure the region thrives. To this end, together with all parties we need to formulate a national vision on the future of the Arctic region and clear rules of play in the region that take everyone into account, observes Karoliina Pilli-Sihvola, researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Read more information about the report here.

Article “Russia’s climate policies and local reality” published

Article “Russia’s climate policies and local reality” written by Liza Skryzhevska, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Simo Leppänen was published in the new volume of Polar Geography.

In their latest report, the IPCC acknowledges the importance of local governments in conducting climate change (CC) adaptation measures. However, the role of local governments has not been widely discussed in the CC policy literature. In this paper, we attempt to bridge this gap by utilizing the unique interview data from 14 Russian localities, the results of which revealed three key findings. First, the federal government of Russia recognizes the problem of CC, but due to budget constraints local authorities cannot implement adaptation actions in their regional planning. Second, only 2 of the 14 surveyed regions have a CC adaptation plan, while a few others incorporate some adaptation measures in their socio-economic development plans. Third, regions with notable agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors have experienced a more significant impact from CC on their economies, and most of the interviewed regional authorities perceived these effects as negative.

The article is available online.

Aleksanteri Insight

“The Arctic Paradox and Russia’s Energy Policy / Arktinen paradoksi ja Venäjän energiapolitiikka” – the title of the new Aleksanteri Insight, published this month by the Aleksanteri Institute.

Through its use of the Arctic, Russia tries to fortify the idea that it is a global Energy
Superpower, writes Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen.

The paper is available in English in Finnish online.

Electricity production as an effective solution

Read a new article “Electricity production as an effective solution for associated petroleum gas utilization in the reformed Russian electricity market” written by Evgenia Vanadzina, Olga Gore, Satu Viljainen, and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and published in the “International Conference on the European Energy Market” journal.

Russia leads the list of countries in which most flaring occurs, with an estimated 15-37 BMC of associated petroleum gas (APG) being burned in Siberian oil fields annually. In view of the environmental impact of flaring and ineffective use of energy resource, fees for flaring are being increased from 2012. Significantly increased fines pose a challenge for oil producers, which have focused only on oil production. A number of solutions for utilizing APG are currently used in Russia: processing of APG in gas processing plants, re-injection of gas back into the oil field, and production of heat and power for the needs of the oil industry.
These commonly used options for APG utilization are analyzed and discussed in this paper, taking into account the specific features of the Russian oil and gas market and barriers presented by monopolies in the gas export and gas processing industry.
Analysis of the utilization options indicates the appropriateness of APG as a fuel for effective power production within Russia’s reformed electricity market.

Venäjän palatseissa ja kaduilla

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen co-wrote with Nina Tynkkynen a chapter for the new book edited by Markku Kivinen and Leena Vähäkylä and titled “Venäjän palatseissa ja kaduilla” (In Russian palaces and streets). The chapter is titled “Venäjän ympäristön tila ja ympäristöpolitiikka ” (State of the Environment in Russia and Russia’s Environmental Policy).

More information about the book can be found here.

Russian peaceful atom and Finland’s international position published an article “Venäläinen rauhan atomi ja Suomen asema” (Russian peaceful atom and Finland’s international position) by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen.

An interesting and at the same time problematic of this debate is the assertion that the nuclear policy, in particular nuclear energy, would be out of the question of foreign policy. Finland’s energy policy is shown to be immune to the power that is used worldwide through energy. In the light of the study, these arguments are strange.

Russian Energy and Security up to 2030

“Russian Energy and Security up to 2030” is a new book edited by Susanne Oxenstierna and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and published this month by Routledge. Professor Tynkkynen also co-wrote the introduction and wrote a chapter “Russian Bioenergy and the EU’s Renewable Energy Goals: Perspectives of Security” for this volume.

The challenges in Russia’s energy sector are changing. On the demand side, Europe is seeking to limit its dependence on Russian oil and gas, with the result that China and other Asian countries are likely to eventually become growing export markets for Russian energy. On the supply side, oil and gas fields in West Siberia are diminishing and in future Russia’s energy will have to come more from East Siberia and the Arctic, which will necessitate new infrastructure development and the employment of advanced technologies, which may increase Russia’s dependence on commercial partners from outside Russia. This book explores the challenges facing Russia’s energy sector and the resulting security implications. It includes a discussion of how far the Russian state is likely to continue to monopolise the energy sector, and how far competition from private and foreign companies might be allowed.

More information about the book.