Economics & Global Affairs

24 Items

Orvis State natural gas flare

Tim Evanson/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Saving Natural Gas Through Regulation

| Mar. 31, 2019

An unprecedented change in U.S. electricity generation is taking place as natural gas is replacing oil and coal, and in some instances, nuclear power. The U.S. Department of Energy forecasts U.S. natural gas production approaching thirty-three trillion cubic feet in 2019 and fueling approximately 36 percent of electricity generation. This is a huge change from just ten years ago. Furthermore, this growth level has occurred with prices hovering around $3.00 per thousand cubic feet, substantially below the price experts predicted.

In 2011, science advisors to the presidents of China and the United States, Wan Gang and John P. Holdren, hold a photo of the historic 1979 U.S.-China agreement on science and engineering.

USDA

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Center's Energy Work Wields Impact and Influence Around the World

| Fall/Winter 2016-2017

The Belfer Center began researching energy technology issues in the late 1990s. Its mission was “to determine and promote the adoption of effective strategies for developing and deploying cleaner and more efficient energy technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and stress on water resources, and improve economic development.”

In this issue, we look at the history and influence of the Center’s energy innovation efforts in the past two decades by focusing primarily on ETIP’s work in the U.S. and China.

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News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Divestment Debate: Should Harvard Divest from Fossil Fuels?

| May 8, 2015

Should Harvard divest its financial holdings in fossil fuel companies to help address the climate change crisis? In the first Kennedy School public debate on this controversial issue, two prominent Harvard professors recently addressed that question, presenting arguments for and against joining the global divestment campaign.

Discussion Paper

Leapfrogging or Stalling Out? Electric Vehicles in China

| May 2014

China has ambitious goals for developing and deploying electric vehicles (EV). The stated intention is to “leapfrog” the auto industries of other countries and seize the emerging EV market. Since 2009, policies have included generous subsidies for consumers in certain locations, as well as strong pressure on local governments to purchase EVs. Yet four years into the program, progress has fallen far short of the intended targets. China has only about 40,000 EVs on the road, of which roughly 80% are public fleet vehicles such as buses and sanitation vehicles.

A coal mine near Hailar, northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, 13 August 2005.

Herry Lawford Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The South China Morning Post

China's Coal Addiction a Threat to Its Energy Security

| May 14, 2014

"...[U]ntil now, Beijing's response to unmet energy demand has focused primarily on securing resources overseas, and building infrastructure for imports. China now generates more electricity from imported coal than from nuclear, wind and solar combined. Without a strong, coordinated policy shift, the country will depend on fuel imports for most of its energy consumption by the time it becomes a developed country."

Geothermal borehole house in Iceland, 14 March 2008.

Lydur Skulason Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Power & Policy Blog

OPEC Embargo +40: What Have We Learned?

| October 18, 2013

"If countries have learned anything, it is that they can protect themselves and become more resilient if they adopt policies and programs that increase their energy self-sufficiency. It turns out that this can be done much more quickly than anyone thought, if they build on what they have."

An oil pump jack in Santa Maria, California, a three-story humming contraption struck residents as a mere curiosity until someone uttered the petroleum industry's dirty word: fracking.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Discussion Paper

North American Oil and Gas Reserves: Prospects and Policy

| July 2012

Expanding estimates of North America’s supply of accessible shale gas, and more recently, shale oil, have been trumpeted in many circles as the most significant energy resource development since the oil boom in Texas in the late 1920s. How large are these resources? What challenges will need to be overcome if their potential is to be realized? How will they impact U.S. energy policy?

To address these questions, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and two of its programs ― the Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Geopolitics of Energy Project ― convened a group of experts from business, government, and academia on May 1, 2012, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The following report summarizes the major issues discussed at this workshop. Since the discussions were off-the-record, no comments are attributed to any individual. Rather, this report attempts to summarize the arguments on all sides of the issues.

Wind turbines generate electricity at the Qiyueshan Wind Farm in Lichuan city, central China's Hubei province, 7 December 2010.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Energy Economics

The Price of Wind Power in China During its Expansion: Technology Adoption, Learning-by-doing, Economies of Scale, and Manufacturing Localization

| May 2012

Using the bidding prices of participants in China's national wind project concession programs from 2003 to 2007, this paper built up a learning curve model to estimate the joint learning from learning-by-doing and learning-by-searching, with a novel knowledge stock metric based on technology adoption in China through both domestic technology development and international technology transfer. The paper describes, for the first time, the evolution of the price of wind power in China, and provides estimates of how technology adoption, experience building wind farm projects, wind turbine manufacturing localization, and wind farm economies of scale have influenced the price of wind power.

Delegates listen to German Chancellor Angela Merkel respond to a question at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on July 3, 2011. The two-day dialogue was held in preparation for the upcoming UN climate conference in Durban.

AP Photo

Discussion Paper

The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon: Theory and Experience

| November 2011

Because of the global commons nature of climate change, international cooperation among nations will likely be necessary for meaningful action at the global level.  At the same time, it will inevitably be up to the actions of sovereign nations to put in place policies that bring about meaningful reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases.  Due to the ubiquity and diversity of emissions of greenhouse gases in most economies, as well as the variation in abatement costs among individual sources, conventional environmental policy approaches, such as uniform technology and performance standards, are unlikely to be sufficient to the task.  Therefore, attention has increasingly turned to market-based instruments in the form of carbon-pricing mechanisms.  We examine the opportunities and challenges associated with the major options for carbon pricing:  carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, emission reduction credits, clean energy standards, and fossil fuel subsidy reductions.

Windmills generating electricity for South Africa's electric company Eskom seen near Brackenfell on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa,  Jan 29, 2008.

AP Photo

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Governmental Energy Innovation Investments, Policies and Institutions in the Major Emerging Economies: Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa

Over the past decade, countries with emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa have become important global players in political and economic domains. In 2007, these six countries consumed and produced more than a third of the world's energy and emitted about 35 percent of total greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The changing global energy landscape has important implications for energy technology innovation (ETI) nationally and internationally. However, there is limited information available about the investments and initiatives that are taking place by the national governments within these countries. This paper presents the information available on energy RD&D investments in the emerging economies.