China's Renewable and Nuclear Energy Agenda: A Geopolitical Strategy?
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This study is a culmination of research performed during the Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate Program at Johns Hopkins University. Through questioning, research accumulation, aggregation, analytical review, synopsis, and conclusion, this paper represents my expertise and knowledge gained throughout the program. The country of China has always been a focus of mine. I have studied the language, lived in the country, and have always pondered the economic, environmental, and civic future of the nation. In a condensed amount of time China has been able to have an enormous impact on the world and its own people, from its trade relationship with the United States and other nations throughout the world, to its unsustainable pollution caused by energy production. When entering this program, I employed an insufficient number of the tools necessary to research, analyze, and ultimately predict the consequences of China’s current actions both nationally and geopolitically. Throughout the program, those tools were gradually gained. I am now able to identify key concepts that include why China’s pollution has increased so drastically over the past decades, how it has, why it will continue, what actions China’s government is taking to decrease pollution, whether these actions are also being used to for geopolitical gain in certain regions of the world, and what are the national security risks caused by these actions? The research performed throughout the Capstone Project and the program has greatly helped my professional career. While I am interested in all energy policy, my current focus is nuclear energy. Whereas before, I would not be able to describe how a nuclear power plant operates, I am now able to understand the materials and operations necessary to generate that electricity. This is not only with nuclear power, but also with wind and solar energy, coal, oil and gas. I was able to deploy my knowledge of this throughout this paper. Transmission and the grid is another area where my knowledge has greatly improved, as well as the process of regulation and policy that is an integral component to where the electricity is originating from and what power source. Furthermore, I am able to identify weaknesses and strongpoints throughout the nuclear energy sector both in the U.S. and abroad, and how China’s recent push to increase its nuclear energy production could be a cause for concern. The program also brought to light the national security issues caused by climate change and taught me how to identify climate trends, analyze if these trends will manifest into conflict, and where the National Security community needs to focus. The Capstone Project allowed me to combine aspects of the program along with my professional work into one final report. I was able to combine energy production technology with geopolitical aspects, with a pronounced focus on nuclear energy.