Reports & Papers

112 Items

Shanghai, China

Li Yang / Unsplash

Report

Is China's Hydrogen Economy Coming?

| July 28, 2020

This paper focuses on China and the potential role of renewable hydrogen in accelerating its transition to a low-carbon economy. Our research goal is to provide policymakers and other stakeholders the means to make informed decisions on technology innovation, policy instruments, and long-term investments in enabling infrastructure.

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

A satellite view of Djibouti, showing the U.S. Navy’s Camp Lemonnier (bottom) and the People’s Liberation Army Support Base (top).

2020 Google Earth / Maxar Technologies, used with permission.

Paper

Cooperation, Competition, or Both? Options for U.S. Land Forces vis-à-vis Chinese Interests in Africa

| June 2020

This paper responds to a topic from the Army War College’s Key Strategic Issues List, 2018-2020: Evaluate the ramifications of China’s and/or Russia’s interests in Africa for U.S. land forces and suggest options, both to compete and to cooperate, to further U.S. interests.

While U.S. land forces may benefit from competition or cooperation with Chinese elements in Africa, I judge that they possess limited agency to compete or cooperate in the context of these definitions. Therefore, I will take a whole-of-government approach to furthering U.S. interests in Africa vis-à-vis China.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, sail in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019.

U.S. Navy photo / SPC Kaila V. Peters

Paper

Asia Whole and Free? Assessing the Viability and Practicality of a Pacific NATO

    Author:
  • Aaron Bartnick
| March 2020

This report will address four questions in the Pacific NATO debate. First, is there a historical precedent for a Pacific NATO? This report does find a precedent in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), though it was largely unsuccessful due to its lack of regional adoption, weak mutual defense provisions, and ultimately became tainted by the Vietnam War.

Second, would such an alliance be necessary given the plethora of existing multilateral partnerships in the region? While there is a broad multilateral landscape in the Indo-Pacific, there is currently no agreement that combines both the wide reach and deep obligations of a hypothetical Pacific NATO. However, the Quad and RIMPAC do bring together many of the key Indo-Pacific powers and serve as an important foundation for U.S.-oriented multilateral regional security.

Third, how could such an alliance be structured? This report examines three options: expanding NATO’s mandate beyond Europe, building on its Enhanced Opportunity Partner (EOP) program, and creating a new alliance system. It also uses the case of Montenegro’s NATO accession to generate a broad set of criteria for future membership.

And fourth, how would Indo-Pacific nations, including China, respond to such an alliance? This would be exceedingly difficult. China has significant economic leverage over even our closest allies, like Australia and Japan.

Intractable internal disputes abound, particularly between South Korea and Japan and four nations—Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam—with competing claims in the South China Sea. Two of the United States’ most important partners in the region, India and Singapore, have a longstanding aversion to exactly this type of alliance system. And for newer partners, like Malaysia and Indonesia, the value proposition is even less clear. The Chinese are likely to respond to any attempts at a multilateral military alliance in its backyard with a whole-of-government effort to stop it. If that alliance includes Taiwan, it could result in even more aggressive action.

Report

Digital Currency Wars: A National Security Crisis Simulation

On November 19, 2019, the Belfer Center’s Economic Diplomacy Initiative hosted a national security crisis simulation in the JFK Jr. Forum to a packed audience from the Harvard and MIT communities. 

Drawing on the experience of Belfer Center members who have served in the highest levels of the U.S. government, the event explored the nexus of U.S. economic power and its national security interests.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Creating Subnational Climate Institutions in China

| December 2019

This discussion paper (available in English and Chinese) describes the evolution of decentralization over the reform period that began in China in 1978, different theories of institutional change in China, and how the empirical and theoretical literatures help scholars and policymakers understand the development of institutions for governing GHG-emitting activities.

A prototype Tesla Semi truck at Tesla HQ in California, April 22, 2019.

Flickr/Steve Jurveston

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Environmental Implications and Policy Challenges for Bringing Long-Haul Electric Trucks into China: The Case of the Tesla Semi

    Author:
  • Jonathan M. Moch
| July 2019

The Tesla Semi is a battery powered electric long haul truck currently in the prototype phase. Since cost and technological barriers have prevented electric vehicles from making significant inroads into the market for long haul trucks, the announcement of the Tesla Semi marks one of the first major attempts to bring electrification to on-road long haul freight transport. China, as the world’s largest carbon emitter, is an important market for truck electrification. China has a bourgeoning passenger electric vehicle market but, like the rest of the world, is reliant on heavily polluting diesel trucks for on-road freight transport. 

This paper addresses two main questions:

  1. What are the potential impacts on carbon emissions of electric long haul trucks in China? 
  2. What are the barriers to the adoption of electric long haul trucks in China? 

Workers dismantle the Belt and Road Forum logo next to the “Golden Bridge of Silk Road” structure outside the media center as leaders are attending the round table summit of the Belt and Road Forum chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Saturday, April 27, 2019

AP Photo/Andy Wong

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

The Triangle in the Long Game

| June 19, 2019

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how China’s new power is reaching Europe, the challenges that it poses, and the European responses to this new reality. This process has to be examined in the context of the current strategic competition between China and the U.S. and its reflection on the transatlantic relationship.

A man prepares to charge his electric-powered vehicle parked at a shopping mall in Beijing, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

The Role of Electric Vehicles in Decarbonizing China’s Transportation Sector

| April 2019

This paper focuses on the deep decarbonization of the transportation sector. The first part of the paper provides an assessment of China’s efforts to stimulate the rapid deployment of electric vehicles. The second part analyzes the CO2 equivalent reductions from a 20% electric vehicle deployment scenario. It concludes that under most assumptions, emissions will be reduced, but the total reduction will be less than many people believe due to the carbon intensity of battery manufacturing.