At the beginning of the year, the Russian government published the ‘National Action Plan for the First Phase of Adaptation to Climate Change for the Period up to 2022’. It recognised that climate change has a growing impact on the state’s socio-economic development, living conditions, and human health. The Action Plan declares the Russian government’s intentions to mitigate the effects of climate change on the population, environment, and economy, and introduces ‘a state system of measures’ to be implemented by the federal and regional authorities. Some media has hailed the Kremlin’s new policy as a milestone in joining the international community in recognising the threats of climate change. However, the Action Plan should primarily be seen as an example of authoritarian environmentalism: the government reserves itself an exclusive right to implement climate policy, neglecting the role of civil society. It thereby aims to bolster the state’s geo-economic interests and suppress environmentalist organisations and activists, while flaunting international climate change agreements.
The future of the Arctic and NATO’s role is likely to remain status quo for the next 5 years mainly because of Arctic governance institutions and agreements among the Arctic coastal states with few major challenges by others to date. However, four stressors, increasing in intensity, could undermine the Arctic governance architecture and brook opposition to the coastal states, increasing the risk of conflicts and miscalculation of intentions of other actors to NATO and by NATO toward others. By 2030, these stressors could upset the stability of the Arctic region.
Dmitry Sergeev & Irina Chesnokova
The process of adaptation to climate change is extremely relevant for the Arctic: warming here occurs twice as fast as in other regions of the planet. The results of many assessments show that this trend will continue in the long run. Extreme natural phenomena become a threat to the security, health and well-being of the Arctic regions and are associated with risks for economic activity in the polar regions, affecting the development of natural resources, sea and land transport, serving infrastructure, buildings and structures, housing and communal services and agriculture. Adaptation is becoming not only one of the new priorities of the Arctic agenda for sustainable development at the national and international levels, but also an everyday challenge for the northern regions.
Ilker K. Basaran & Hayat Cemre Cakıoglu
On June 18th, 2020, the Norwegian Parliament disregarded calls made through the World Wildlife Funds’ (WWF) MIZ (#SaveTheIceEdge) campaign and voted against a multidisciplinary scientific report provided by a group of Norwegian research institutions and state agencies regarding updated (advised) boundaries of the Arctic Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ), a transitional area between an open ocean and solid sea ice, and opened the area in the Barents Sea for oil and gas explorations.
Nic Craig, Tone Bjørndal & Anna Lipsanen
The pace of temperature and environmental change in the Arctic, and the implications for the stability of the global climate system, are driving a growing urgency to decarbonise every aspect of our lives. While it is often repeated that the Arctic is ground zero for the impacts of the climate crisis, it does not abdicate the region from taking the necessary action to tackle the root of the problem: the carbon economy.
Traditions are neither mandatory per se, nor do they commit you. However they easily remind and engage you about something to be interested in and follow. As the theme of the first Arctic Yearbook, in 2012, was “Arctic Policies and Strategies” – including a summary of the existing policies of the Arctic states, the first articles on interests and emerging policies of the Asian and European non-Arctic states (China, France, Japan, Poland, Scotland, Singapore, UK), as well as Inuit engagement in regional Arctic politics – the Yearbook has since then followed the theme (e.g. Lackenbauer 2013 on India; Olsen & Shadian 2016 on Greenland; Rahbek-Clemmensen 2016 on Denmark; Lim 2018 on China; Basse 2019 on Germany, and several analyses on the EU).