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UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser

Is this Russias Kodak moment? Russian perspectives on the energy transition

Alternative title: Er dette Russlands Kodak-øyeblikk? Russiske perspektiver på energitransisjon

Awarded: NOK 5.0 mill.

The term "Kodak moment" refers to a failure to foresee technological developments and market trends that threaten established businesses. This term originated with the American company Kodak, which made films for cameras and thought that digital cameras would not become important. The Paris Agreement and the falling cost of solar and wind power threaten to undermine demand for fossil fuels. This project examines (1) whether Russian energy actors are aware of the possibility of swift phasing out of fossil fuels; (2) what consequences they think it would have for demand for Russian fossil fuel exports; and (3) what measures they are implementing to protect themselves against such a development. The research is a collaborative endeavor between economists and political scientists and includes cooperation between researchers working on Russia in Norway, Germany and the UK, as well as Russia. The project emphasizes the comparative study of Russian actors and their peers around the world in order to bring in a global perspective that is often missing in Russian studies. Our finding is that consciousness about energy transition in Russia was rising and Russian society has started discussing more actively the country’s options in a decarbonized world – until Russia invaded Ukraine. Much of the focus was on blue hydrogen (i.e. hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture). However, the war and sanctions have overshadowed the decarbonization issue. As far as we have been able to find out, nobody in Russia now sees (or at least discusses publicly) the possible link from the sanctions to decarbonization in the longer term, although the link is quite clear. NUPI's annual Russia conference was 2022 dedicated to the topic of this project and was organized in cooperation with with FNI, which has a project financed by RCN on a related topic. 220 people signed up for the conference and it was an interesting event.

The term "Kodak moment" refers to a failure to foresee technological developments and market trends that threaten established business models. The Paris Agreement (now ratified by 170 countries) and the falling cost of solar and wind power threaten to undermine demand for fossil fuels. This project will examine (1) whether Russian energy actors are aware of the possibility of swift decarbonization of the global energy supply; (2) what consequences they think it would have for demand for Russian fossil fuels exports; and (3) what measures they are implementing in order to hedge against such a development. The project incorporates a comparative analysis of Russian actors and their peers around the world in order to see Russia in a broader global perspective that is often missing in Russian studies. The research is a collaborative endeavor between economists and political scientists and includes cooperation between researchers working on Russia in Norway, Germany and the UK, as well as Russia itself. A comparative international survey of students studying energy issues in Russia and other major oil producing countries will be included, drawing on the network of academics in Canada, Colombia, Iraq, Indonesia, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands previously established for the book 'Public Brainpower' (Øverland, Palgrave, 2018).

Funding scheme:

UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser