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The Thirsty King: Digging into the Water Footprint of China’s Coal

This discussion "digs" into the coal-water choke point in China, looking at how the country's continued reliance on coal will impact future water supplies, and how China's power sector will survive a predictably parched future.

Date & Time

Jul. 24, 2012
9:00am – 11:00am ET


5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Though China is pursuing aggressive programs to improve energy efficiency, undertaking experimental programs in carbon capture and storage, and investing aggressively in renewable energy development, the nation’s coal production and consumption is soaring. Discussions around China’s coal challenge generally center on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but as Circle of Blue and the China Environment Forum’s Choke Point: China research and reporting revealed, coal’s water footprint is large and growing. Throughout the whole supply chain—coal mining, processing, shipping, combustion, and gasification—coal requires huge amounts of water. Most of China’s coal is in the dry north and the country likely lacks the water to continue to extract and use coal at the current rate.

Our panelists bring to the table expert knowledge and rich discussion to an otherwise "dry" topic. Our panelists include: Dr. Pei Liu, who has just completed a BP-commissioned two-year study on the water footprint of China’s coal supply chain; Dr. Yajun Tian from Shenhua’s National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy who will provide insight into China’s rapidly expanding coal-to-chemicals industries; and Kevin Jianjun Tu from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who will close out the panel with a discussion of how China is likely to increase dependence on coal imports to satisfy the domestic and shortages caused by water and other constraints.



Hosted By

China Environment Forum

Since 1997, the China Environment Forum's mission has been to forge U.S.-China cooperation on energy, environment, and sustainable development challenges. We play a unique nonpartisan role in creating multi-stakeholder dialogues around these issues.  Read more

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