Environmental Encounters or Foreign Policy?
Are Russia’s encounters with international environmental agreements not purely environmental, but reflect more general foreign and domestic policy goals, and sometimes used as ‘platforms’ for image-building and benefit-seeking rather promoting environmental goals? That was the question underlying the major hypothesis posed in the beginning of this book. We have indeed found evidence to support our hypothesis in all three cases presented here: the Kyoto climate regime, the Baltic Sea cooperation, and the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission. With the climate case, the evidence indicates that Russia’s motivations for joining the Kyoto Protocol were related to the country’s international image and its desire to be admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO), rather than trying to solve the problem and avoid the impacts of climate change. Similarly, participation in the Kyoto joint implementation (JI) was driven by the economic interests of domestic businesses and administration. In terms of the ultimate drivers of Russia’s policy, the foreign policy benefits appear to have been decisive, whereas the economic benefits were considered as merely an additional dividend.
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