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Russia’s Climate Policy: International Bargaining and Domestic Modernisation

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This article accounts for the gap between Russia’s weak initial implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and its more active engagement in climate policy during the Medvedev presidency. We examine the intersection of climate policy and broader efforts to modernise Russia’s economy, drawing attention to synergies between domestic and international politics. We argue that international factors alone do not explain the change in climate policy as they have remained relatively constant. Instead, greater attention toward climate policy results from efforts to introduce new technologies and increase energy efficiency, spurred by the recent financial crisis and a shift in domestic policy priorities associated with the Medvedev presidency.

The authors would like to thank Steinar Andresen, Kathryn Harrison, James Richter and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Any errors are the responsibility of the authors. The research for this article took the form of detailed comparative analysis of Russian government statements and policy documents on climate change and energy efficiency from 2000 through to 2010, Russian and international media analysis of government positions, official statements of Russian delegations to UN conferences on climate change, and (for the Kyoto ratification period) author interviews with responsible officials in the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Rosgidromet Agency, Ecological Committee of the Russian State Duma, and a number of Russian and international environmental NGOs and think tanks in June–August 2005.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Bowdoin College University of British Columbia,

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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