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Abstract

The positions and strategies of Russia in the international climate negotiations are examined. The shift towards a more integrated negotiation strategy and its use of rhetoric at the Copenhagen meeting reflected both a change in Russia’s domestic elite and its bureaucratic politics, and a desire to appear to be a responsible global power. However, climate change is still an issue of only limited public salience, which allows Russia some leeway in formulating its negotiating positions. Indeed, Russia is still unpredictable in the negotiations and its primary concern remains advancing unconstrained economic growth. Russia’s recent decision to abandon, along with Canada and Japan, the ‘Kyoto-2’ track of negotiations shows that its role in future climate negotiations depends on broadening developing country participation and the positions of the members of the Umbrella Group (most notably, the US) and China. The analysis thus lends support to negotiation theories that emphasize the two-level interplay between international and domestic politics and the relevance of contingent strategies and coalitions in shaping policy options.

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