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:
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?
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.
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?
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.