The geopolitical implications of China’s energy transition

The Chinese government has pledged to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060. But even as it adds renewable sources to the energy mix, China will likely remain reliant on imported oil and gas for decades to come. This research project is based on oil and gas demand and supply scenarios for China to 2030 and 2040 and will look at the geopolitical and security implications of select scenarios. It will also discuss how China’s changing import structure informs foreign policy considerations: How will Beijing’s relations with the Middle East evolve? How will the energy transition impact energy flows through the Malacca Strait? How will China’s increasing reliance on Russian gas impact the bilateral relationship? The research will analyse the changing views of “energy security” in China as the energy transition unfolds and the implications for China’s outbound economic diplomacy and security policy. At the same time, the research project will also assess corporate strategies and to what extent they inform or are informed by Beijing’s views of the energy transition and China’s role in it.

Finally, as China requires new minerals and materials, where is it sourcing these commodities? Will there be lessons learned from its experience with oil and gas, and how will this impact China’s foreign policy priorities? How will concerns about technological decoupling inform China’s innovation policies and what are the implications for energy-related technologies? How will China’s Belt and Road initiative evolve under the country’s carbon neutrality pledge?

By: Michal Meidan


China , China Energy Programme