Circle of Blue and the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will give an absorbing presentation on the energy-water choke points that are tightening around the world’s largest nation. Please RSVP for May 6, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Underlying China’s new standing in the world, like a tectonic fault line, is an increasingly fierce competition between energy and water that threatens to upend China’s progress.
Aside from water-sipping technologies such as wind and solar, energy production—particularly coal—uses vast amounts of water. In China, coal mining, cleaning, and production alone is using 23 percent of the nation’s water. Because of water scarcity, central government and provincial leaders, for instance, have halted at four the number of new coal-to-liquid fuels plants allowed to be built in a program that once envisioned nearly 20 new plants. The process of turning coal to a metric ton of liquid fuel can take as much as 12 cubic meters (3,200 gallons) of water.
Over the past nine months, Circle of Blue and the China Environment Forum have explored the extensive water circulatory system and vast energy production musculature that makes China and the United States go, and what could also contribute to making both nations falter.
The new findings in the Choke Point: China series—presented in rich narratives, data, imagery, and graphics—provide compelling evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and fuel that is readily visible and virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade.
However, Choke Point: China is not simply a report of doom and gloom, for the Chinese government has begun to enact and enforce a range of water conservation and efficiency measures that work: from 1995 to 2010, the total amount of water used in China increased by roughly 15 percent, even as the economy grew eightfold.
The presentation highlights the oft-overlooked energy-water choke points that China is facing, as well as how these will impact businesses with operations, markets, or investments in China and what those businesses should be doing to prepare. Complex challenges—such as pollution and the vast amount of water that is used for coal—will also be discussed, along with potential solutions.