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