EVALUATING THE EFFECT CHINA’S BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE HAS ON THE UNITED STATES’ CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION
McHugh, Trevor Donald
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This research study looks at how China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is negatively impacting the United States’ (US) clean energy transition. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, China’s BRI is eliminating US access to minerals critical to the clean energy transition and is essentially monopolizing the overall supply chain. This research study analyzes Chinese engagements in specific countries determined to be among the top three producers of one of the seven minerals identified by the International Energy Agency as critical for a clean energy transition, highlighting the BRI’s investment and political tactics and corresponding effects on US clean energy markets, investments, and initiatives. The elimination of critical mineral and alternate processing providers outside of Chinese control runs the risk of not only limiting US clean energy goals and transition timelines but projecting China as a leader and top partner in the rapidly growing global clean energy push. While research has been done on the relationship between the BRI and critical minerals, the BRI and clean energy, and critical minerals and clean energy, there is a lack of research on the intersection of all three. This research study looks to bridge that gap and provide insight into how the BRI is hindering US clean energy efforts in an attempt to not only better inform the US strategy going forward, but to understand China’s intentions.