Summary of team meeting #3

The following is the summary of a team meeting held on February 27th at Hertie. Every one was present and actively contributed to the discussion.

The focus of the meeting: draw an outline proposal for the research, identify questions we should ask Robert, prepare for the next meeting with Robert on 28th February.

A first brainstorming session contemplated how the project “GOBITEC” is connected to BRI. However, our findings did not point to an evident relation and we decided to leave the idea aside for the moment.
A second idea we considered focused on the gap between the stated intentions of Xi Jinping regarding the energetic sustainability of BRI and the actual investments made by China.
Lastly, we decided to adopt a topic-driven approach, rather than geography – driven. This means that we are going to focus more on the general aspects of BRI related to energy and less to a particular region of the world.
We decided to pursue this direction and assess whether or not we could label the BRI initiative as “green”, or rather as Chinese attempt at outsourcing “black energy and come out clean” nevertheless.

The following is the outline proposal for the research:

  • Introduction
  • BRI: a general overview 
    • What it is in brief
    • Historical background of the project
    • BRI perspectives
      • How does China label itself (e.g. Xi Jinping speeches, Ministry issued papers, Green BRI, updated sustainable policies) 
      • Political implications (e.g. Debt trap diplomacy)
    • What it entails Projects, type of projects, etc.
    • A way to ensure a source of energy supply?
  • A closer look to energy
    • Energy projects 
      • Pipelines, electricity grids, generation capacity, solar, coal
    • Implementation to date 
      • Indicators 
      • Investments 
        • What and where Intentions 
        • Which countries?
        • Countries by type of energy involved in the BRI
      • Investments in coal countries?
  • Ongoing discussions 
    • Why China needs an external source of energy supply 
    • Plans of green energy (e.g. Xi Jinping’s speeches, has it evolved since launching Kazakhstan speech?)
    • “Black reality”?
      • Figures of investments in coal plants and other “black” energy projects
      • Figures of imported coal or similar
      • To what extent it is green?
    • Question: Do we have a case of imported pollution (perhaps allowing China to score better on its SDGs)?
  • Conclusions

First questions for Robert:

  • Does the topic and approach proposed fit with your requirements?
  • Shall we focus on energy projects on a particular region, e.g. Central Asia?
  • Shall we focus on a particular type of energy, e.g. coal or wind?