Environmental Encounters or Foreign Policy?
New Horizons in Environmental Politics series
Chapter 6: Discussion: two levels of discourses in Russian environmental policy
We have defined four major discourses in the Russian debate on climate change, related to benefits, threats, rationality and fairness. Interestingly, the possible benefits for Russia seem to be taken as a point of departure for the participants in the debate, whether they are for or against Russian participation in the international collaboration under the Kyoto Protocol or its flexible mechanisms. These benefits may relate to direct investment, a positive image for Russia in the international community, or compensation for the ‘ecological services’ provided by Russia’s forests. The potential threats to Russia, on the other hand, are cited by proponents and opponents of Russia in the international climate regime, each seeking to prove the other side wrong. Opponents claim that Russian participation would imply limitations on emission growth that could hamper economic development in the country, making it difficult, for instance, to reach the goal of doubling the gross domestic product (GDP). Supporters of the Kyoto Protocol see this as unrealistic in any event and argue that non-participation would involve loss of competitiveness in the global market.
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