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

Screening and Discussion of "Under the Dome"

Event //
March 12, 2015 // 2:00pm4:00pm
Under the Dome is a powerful and personal documentary on China’s air pollution by former CCTV reporter Chai Jing. Premiering on China’s Internet on the eve of nationwide political meetings, Under the Dome exceeded 200 million views in under a week and sparked a historic social media discussion. The film was initially lauded by China’s media and new Environmental Minister, but discussion of the piece has since been tamped down by China’s censors. more

CEF Associate, Susan Chan Shifflett, Interviewed by the Guardian on China’s Food Security and Safety

Article //
Feb 19, 2015
For the past three decades an onslaught of urban development, desertification, and pollution has been eating away at China’s once-endless sprawl of tiny farms. How can the country address the dilemma of ramping up urbanization and maintaining food safety and security? more

Film screening: "Cotton Road" for Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

Event //
March 18, 2015 // 12:00pm1:30pm
From rural farms in South Carolina to factory cities in China, the cotton industrial process behind the United States’ rapacious consumption of cheap clothing spans the globe. Cotton Road uncovers the transnational movement of cotton and tells the stories of workers’ lives in a conventional cotton supply chain. more

A Global Choke Point Report: China's Water-Energy-Food Roadmap

Publication //
Feb 18, 2015
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. more

China's Hottest Tech Giants Join the 'War on Pollution'

Article //
Jan 31, 2015
"While the government struggles to keep the country’s airways clean, these companies are enabling ordinary Chinese citizens to take environmental health into their own hands," writes Susan Chan Shifflett. more

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