Russia and the Politics of International Environmental Regimes
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Russia and the Politics of International Environmental Regimes

Environmental Encounters or Foreign Policy?

Anna Korppoo, Nina Tynkkynen and Geir Hønneland

Russia and the Politics of International Environmental Regimes examines the political relationship between Russia and other states in environmental matters. Based on detailed empirical analysis and data, including interviews and media sources, this groundbreaking book scrutinizes the dynamics of Russia’s participation in international environmental politics.
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Chapter 6: Discussion: two levels of discourses in Russian environmental policy

Anna Korppoo, Nina Tynkkynen and Geir Hønneland


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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