About the China Environment Forum

The water-energy-food choke point is forcing a new reckoning. Three colliding trends—declining freshwater reserves, booming energy demand, and uncertain grain supplies—are disrupting economies, governments, and environments around the world. As the world’s most populous country and biggest energy consumer, China’s energy, food, and environmental security is threatened as it hits these choke points. How Chinese policymakers deal with these water-energy-food confrontations will have significant domestic and global consequences. 

In 2010, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum (CEF) teamed up with the Michigan-based Circle of Blue to launch the Choke Point: China initiative, which created a broad assessment and narrative of the water-energy-food confrontations in the world’s second largest economy. We were the first to report that 20 percent of China’s annual water use goes to produce energy from coal. Our reporting also raised sobering questions on the large and overlooked energy footprint of water in China. Over 20 multimedia reports on China’s choke points have attracted considerable interest from policymakers, researchers, and NGOs in and outside China, catalyzing new research, policy discussions, and programming. 

To deepen these dialogues and highlight potential solutions, the China Environment Forum began a partnership with the Beijing-based environmental group Greenovation Hub to organize the first China Water-Energy Team (China WET) exchange in August 2013. During the week-long exchange, the team participated in six closed and two public roundtable discussions in Beijing with Chinese government research institutes, think tanks, environmental NGOs, universities, and businesses.

This Roadmap captures insights from the China WET exchange and numerous in-depth interviews with Chinese and U.S. environmental and energy practitioners. The three main goals of this Roadmap are to: 

  • Provide a snapshot of the water-energy-food trends and major players in China;
  • Identify research and policy gaps for addressing China’s water-energy-food choke points; and,
  • Propose potential solutions moving forward, with an emphasis on the role of China-U.S. collaboration to address the water-energy- food confrontations in both countries. 

The work of the China Environment Forum and Greenovation Hub aims to cross silos both within and across the U.S. and Chinese governments, research, business, and NGO communities to inform, and hopefully catalyze, better policymaking and a greener environment. We hope this Roadmap will play a small part in helping both countries better address the water-energy-food challenge. 

 

The Latest from the China Environment Forum

China and Latin America: Seeking a Path to Sustainable Development

Event //
April 16, 2015 // 10:00am12:00pm
The rise of China has been a boon to the economies of Latin America for more than a decade with Chinese investment being particularly active in the energy and mining sectors. more
Webcast

China's Foreign Policy in a New Era of Sino-Latin American Relations

Event //
March 24, 2015 // 9:00am11:00am
The Wilson Center’s Latin American Program, Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, and China Environment Forum, in collaboration with the Institute of the Americas, are pleased to invite you to a seminar exploring China’s evolving political engagement with Latin America. more

INFOGRAPHIC: Conquering China’s Sludge Mountains

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Apr 10, 2015
While Chinese officials make full frontal regulatory attacks on smog, untreated sludge, an often toxic byproduct from sewage treatment, continues to quietly spread into groundwater and contaminate soil and food. more

Two Decades Trying to Solve China’s Environmental Problems: An Interview With WWF’s Tao Hu

Article //
Apr 08, 2015
Despite some critics, the U.S.-China agreement over carbon emissions achieved last November has sparked remarkable optimism in global climate negotiations. It’s also opened the door to new bilateral engagement between the U.S. and Chinese environmental communities on other issues, including China’s massive air pollution problems (16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China). more

China-U.S.-ASEAN Relations and Maritime Security in the South China Sea

Publication //
Apr 01, 2015
The long-standing disputes over territory and maritime resources in the South China Sea have rapidly escalated, with China's claim over 90% of the territory overlapping with the claims of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. more

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