Environment & Energy


Conferences sponsored by the Ash Center’s China Programs are important tools for diffusing knowledge about China’s growing role in the world and the challenges related to this most pivotal relationship of the 21st century.  Below we invite you to explore previous China Programs conferences and learn about upcoming China-related conferences supported by the Ash Center. 

China and Globalization

China’s emergence as a major economic power is now largely recognized, and linked to many of the benefits created by a globalizing economy. What is less clear is how China will shoulder related social, political and intellectual responsibilities that are integral to its new economic status.   The Program on China and Globalization Fund explores this central question through targeted support of some of the world’s leading thinkers focused on this most pressing and exciting inquiry of the 21st century.  Specifically, the Fund aims to deepen the intellectual...

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Executive Education

AESI research benefits greatly from interaction with, and feedback from, leaders of industry and government. Research results are increasingly incorporated into teaching case studies, course materials, and lectures of several executive education programs. For example, energy and sustainability perspectives contribute to the executive programs currently training government leaders from China, Vietnam, and ...

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The Asia Energy and Sustainability Initiative (AESI) leverages the Ash Center’s depth in the study of governance and policy innovation in Asia, the Belfer Center’s expertise in energy technology and energy policy, and draws on the Sustainability Science Program’s system-based analysis of sustainable development. Three key questions motivate the AESI research agenda:

  • Is State-led Capital “Patient” in the Energy Innovation Process? AESI’s work investigates how government finance, ownership, monopsony, and other...
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Asia Energy and Sustainability Initiative

The Asia Energy and Sustainability Initiative (AESI) provides first-rate scholarly analysis and independent research relating to the intersection of innovation, energy policy and technology, and environmental outcomes in Asia.

As a research-based collaboration among the Ash Center, the Belfer Center, and the Sustainability Science Program, AESI marshals the expertise of three preeminent Harvard Kennedy School research centers to study the drivers of change in energy markets and energy sustainability in Asia. In particular, the...

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China Programs

China Programs provides a school-wide platform at the Ash Center that engages Chinese scholars, policymakers, business and non-profit leaders, and students to analyze key policy challenges both within China and in China’s increasing global engagement. We accomplish this through three sets of related activities: research; teaching, including tailored executive education; and fellowships.

Our research activities include the longest running western survey of Chinese citizen satisfaction  with Chinese...

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Following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in late April 2010, the Obama administration organized a massive response operation to contain the enormous amount of oil spreading across the Gulf of Mexico. Attracting intense public attention and, eventually, widespread criticism, the response adhered to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, a federal law that the crisis would soon reveal was not well understood – or even accepted – by all relevant parties. This two-part case profiles the efforts of senior officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as they struggled to coordinate the actions of a myriad of actors, ranging from numerous federal partners (including key members of the Obama White House); the political leadership of the affected Gulf States and sub-state jurisdictions; and the private sector. Case A provides an overview of the disaster and early response; discusses the formation of the National Incident Command (NIC), which had responsibility for directing response activities; and explores the NIC’s efforts to coordinate the actions of various federal entities.

David Dapice, December 2012 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently released an excellent report on Myanmar’s energy sector. In it they presented estimates of future demand growth by the Ministry of Electric Power for electricity. They show demand doubling from 12,459 million kWh in 2012-13 to 25,683 million kWh in 2018-19, a compound rate of growth of 13% a year. However, the actual production in 2012 appears to be only 10,000 million kWh, and it is unlikely that moving to 2012-13 will raise the total much beyond 10,500 million kWh. Of this output, about 1700 million kWh will be exported. (Electricity exports exceeded 1700 million kWh in both 2010 and 2011.) So, the likely electricity output in 2012-13 available for domestic use will be 3659 kWh below this year's demand estimate. Production for domestic use would have to jump by 42% to equal the expected demand. This is a massive shortfall and demand grows by over 1500 million kWh in 2013-14. So for 2013-14, supply net of exports would have to grow by nearly 5200 million kWh to account for the existing shortfall and projected growth, or by nearly 60% over 2012-13.

David Dapice, May 2012 

Electricity is a fundamental input to every modern economy. Electricity consumption per capita in Myanmar is among the lowest in Asia and had been growing very slowly since the 1980s. It gently grew from 45 kWh per capita in 1987 to 99 kWh in 2008, a 3.8 percent annual growth rate. However, since 2008, the production of electricity has jumped very quickly. This 50 percent jump in three years is about 15 percent per year, far higher than in the past. The CSO does not report any increase in installed capacity since 2009/10, so the existing system is being worked much more intensively. This creates problems, such as the risk of sudden outages from failures in generators. Indeed, there has been an increase in blackouts in the Yangon and Mandalay areas in the last year in spite of higher output; and even during the wet season. With increases in tourism, exports and overall economic activity, electricity demand will continue to soar. Even with 2011/12 output, estimated consumption in Myanmar is only about 160 kWh per capita, compared to 2009 consumption of over 250 kWh per capita in Bangladesh and nearly 600 in Indonesia. Vietnam had over 1000 kWh per capita in 2011.