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.