Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Nancy Neiman Auerbach

Reader 2

Minxin Pei

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As interest in renewable energy development continues to rise around the globe, the alignment of China’s capabilities and incentive to invest in the green energy sector position the country in a leading role. However, China’s recent investment in coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology raises questions as to the direction of China’s energy policy and reflects broader geopolitical tensions within the Chinese government. Although CTL technology has been widely criticized as being environmentally unfriendly and economically unsustainable, China continues to invest in it at an astounding pace. Research proposes several possible explanations, such as corruption or local conflicts of interest, however, a critical analysis of China’s political and economic systems reveals that China’s energy policy is actually split between pursuing oil security and becoming a green hegemon. How the Chinese Communist Party decides to prioritize its energy policy will have widespread economic, environmental and political effects for decades to come.