China’s Water Crisis Uncensored

June 1, 2014

Remember – anyone that tells you China’s fossil fuel growth will continue unabated is not recognizing some serious limiting factors. Water would be the big one.

5 Responses to “China’s Water Crisis Uncensored”

  1. jimbills Says:

    “anyone that tells you China‚Äôs fossil fuel growth will continue unabated is not recognizing some serious limiting factors”

    It depends on the time frame. On an over 20 year time frame, then I’d be seriously skeptical that fossil carbon use in China would continue to grow much further. We’re at peak conventional oil, and I think the peaks on coal and NG are much closer than most industry projections. But for the next decade or two, all projections show fossil carbon use growing in China. Renewables and nuclear also grow, but so does coal, NG, and oil:
    http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=CH

    The video talks about the Three Gorges Dam, and how that is causing a lot of the water stress. Hydropower is virtually the ‘perfect’ renewable – it’s reliable and very clean – except that it also has other major environmental issues.

    The problem in China is too rapid industrial growth. No matter what they do, they’ll have to create environmental chaos to feed that level of growth.

    One other thing to consider is that separate nations no longer have separate economies. We are a global economy. All commodities go to the highest bidder, and it’s likely that China will afford the highest bid for a longer period of time than most countries, including those in the West. China won’t be limited by drilling and mining in their own country as long as they can purchase those resources elsewhere.

    What we see on limiting factors in individual cases is technological solutions and substitutions. The economists have that right as far how things work on a case-by-case basis. The tar sands bitumen oil are created by natural gas and water – we basically swap two resources for one, with the technology thrown in to make it function.

    What the economists don’t see is the convergence of multiple limiting factors hitting the system at once. We’re not there yet, but it’s not far off, and no nation will be immune to it. The wild cards are social instability and international conflict, both of which are likely to be fed by the convergence of limiting factors.

    I read this recently, too:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/05/25/states-running-out-of-water/9506821/

  2. redskylite Says:

    That said China is still very active on the fossil fuel front and look to be pursuing more unrelentingly, whilst also building more fossil fuel guzzling desalination plants. So a long way to go yet (maybe a war or two) , do we really have time ?.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/world/asia/desalination-plant-beijing-china.html?_r=0

    https://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/133308/Tensions_Rise_in_South_China_Sea_as_China_Seeks_Oil_Gas_in_Disputed_Waters


  3. redsky- yes, China is making a lot of mistakes including responding to Beijing pollution by making coal gasification, moving pollution to Mongolia and increasing carbon emissions. China is a nascent first world country rapidly going through all the mature first world country evolutionary mistakes, and in a big way. We should be monitoring the situation there closely. It is critical.


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