The Geopolitics Of Energy And Global Climate Change

For each question, your answer must state your thesis and be  supported with detailed information, including dates, specific examples,  and material from your reading. Your conclusions should follow  logically from the information you have presented. Any quotations,  specific information, and ideas drawn from your reading must be cited  and referenced in APA format. Each essay should be at least 2 pages (500 words) in length, not including references.

The Midterm Exam questions are as follows:

  1. Review Figures 5 and 6 [PDF, File Size 222KB] from the International Energy Agency’s CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion publication of 2014. These figures depict world total primary energy supply (TPES) and CO2  emissions by fuel type for 2012. In considering the information in  these figures and your broader reading across the first four modules of  the course, please address yourself to these questions. When you compare  the role of coal and oil in energy use and CO2  emissions, what differences do you find in the share of global energy  for the fuel type compared to the fuel type’s share of global CO2  emissions? When you do the same for “other,” which includes renewables  and nuclear, what do you find? What explains the disparities between the  fuel types’ energy shares and their CO2  emissions shares? As you consider the consequences of energy use over  time, how is the special problem of the planet’s reliance on coal a  difficult obstacle to overcome? Do you believe it can be overcome?
  2. In these first modules, you have examined instances of contemporary Russian influence over natural gas supplies to Europe and US  influence over global oil supplies since the post-World War I era. In  your considered assessment, how does energy affect the geopolitical  relations among states? Is political rivalry over energy resources a  constant feature of international politics, or is energy resource  sharing and cooperation more the norm? Be sure in your answer to use and  cite specific examples from your readings.
  3. You have reviewed a great deal of material on global warming and  climate change, yet there is still popular suspicion as to whether  global warming is occurring. What consequences of warming and climate  change do you find to be compelling evidence for the finding that  climate change is occurring? For example, what changes in the earth’s  climate system can you identify as evidence in support of the scientific  community’s assessment that the earth is warming? Alternatively, what  counter evidence can you offer against the finding of global warming and  climate change? On balance, do you find evidence of the consequences of  climate change to support the claim of global warming?
  4. In your review of energy’s vital role in economic and political  power, you have seen how energy can be used to tie nations together,  establishing influence and future utility as a political weapon. In the  specific case of Russia, how did the Russians use oil and natural gas  after World War II to bind Eastern Europe to the common cause of a  Russian-led political system in the Eastern bloc? How have the Russians  used oil and natural gas to continue to influence Eastern and Western  Europe since the 1970s? Is Russia’s energy-based influence a permanent  feature of European politics, or might wind, solar, and electromobility  systems based on their power generation set Western Europeans free, if  not Eastern Europeans?

Be sure each essay is in APA  format, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Cite your text or  use of outside materials, and provide proper references. It is suggested  that you write or print out the essay questions for handy reference as  you develop your responses. Be sure to submit your essay exam in one  Word document.

CO2 EMISSIONS FROM FUEL COMBUSTION Highlights (2014 Edition) – 9


Figure 4. Change in CO2 emissions (2011-12) MtCO2

Key point: In 2012, emissions from coal and oil in- creased in non-Annex I countries and decreased in Annex I countries.

Emissions by fuel Although coal represented 29% of the world TPES in 2012, it accounted for 44% of the global CO2 emis- sions due to its heavy carbon content per unit of en- ergy released, and to the fact that 18% of the TPES derives from carbon-neutral fuels (Figure 5). As compared to gas, coal is nearly twice as emission intensive on average.5

Figure 5. World primary energy supply and CO2 emissions: shares by fuel in 2012

Percent share

* Other includes nuclear, hydro, geothermal, solar, tide, wind, biofuels and waste.

Key point: Globally, coal combustion generates the largest share of CO2 emissions, although oil still is the largest energy source.

5. Default carbon emission factors from the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines: 15.3 tC/TJ for gas, 16.8 to 27.5 tC/TJ for oil products, 25.8 to 29.1 tC/TJ for primary coal products.

Those shares evolved significantly during the last decade, following ten years of rather stable relative contributions among fuels. In 2002 in fact, oil still held the largest share of emissions (41%), three per- centage points ahead of coal (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Fuel shares in global CO2 emissions

Key point: The fossil fuel mix changed significantly in the last 10 years, with coal replacing oil as the largest source of CO2 emissions.

In 2012, CO2 emissions from the combustion of coal increased by 1.3% to 13.9 GtCO2. Currently, coal fills much of the growing energy demand of those devel- oping countries (such as China and India) where en- ergy-intensive industrial production is growing rapidly and large coal reserves exist with limited re- serves of other energy sources.

Emissions by region Non-Annex I countries, collectively, represented 55% of global CO2 emissions in 2012. At the regional level, annual growth rates varied greatly: emissions growth in China (3.1%) was lower than in previous years, however, emissions grew strongly in Africa (5.6%), Asia excluding China (4.9%) and the Middle East (4.5%). Emissions in Latin America6 (4.1%) and Annex II Asia Oceania (2.5%) grew at a more moder- ate rate, while emissions decreased in Annex II North America (-3.7%), Annex II Europe (-0.5%) and Annex I EIT (-0.8%) (Figure 7). Regional differences in contributions to global emis- sions conceal even larger differences among individ- ual countries. Nearly two-thirds of global emissions for 2012 originated from just ten countries, with the shares of China (26%) and the United States (16%) far surpassing those of all others. Combined, these two countries alone produced 13.3 GtCO2. The top-10 emitting countries include five Annex I countries and five non-Annex I countries (Figure 8).

6. For the purposes of this discussion, Latin America includes non- OECD Americas and Chile.












Coal Oil Gas Other Total

Annex I Non-Annex I






21% 18%

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%



Oil Coal Gas Other*









1971 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2006 2012

Coal Oil Gas

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