Arctic environmental protection in the context of geopolitical competition: Between a rock and a hard place

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.12 Arctic resource geopolitics, oil and gas - actors, policies, platforms
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Flavio Inocencio (Coventry University, United Kingdom), Aaron Cooper (Coventry University, United Kingdom)
Abstract text

This paper will explore the role of Russia in the Artic from a legal and political perspective in light of the changes in the Artic environment. The changing climate and melting permafrost presents a number of opportunities for Russia - In line with its ‘Energy Strategy 2030’. Russia has moved to adopt a strategy to develop those resources. It is asserting a stronger position, backed by increasing support from China. Resolution No.449 seeks to support renewable energy sources but as it currently stands – the legislation does not match the ambitious targets to reduce emissions. Russia has been pursuing a clear strategy in the region, both in terms of its political stature and military. This poses a problem for the Artic countries in general and the protection of their interests. Russia has sought to diversify its energy mix with renewables and other sources of energy, but, it is also important to point out that the lack of development of energy infrastructure in the Arctic poses serious a serious threat to local (indigenous), regional and international communities due to the nature of the High-North, should there be any failings on the scale of the Macondo blow-out.  Considering that all of the Arctic nations (including observer states) have legitimate interests in protection of the Artic as part of the global commons achieving a balance should be a priority.

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