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China’s Looming Water Crisis(by Charlie Parton)

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A looming water crisis is a bigger and perhaps more immediate threat to China’s economic and social development than debt, demographics and other economic challenges. Yet it is too rarely discussed. China has 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of its water, and, to make matters drier, 80% of the water is in the south. Current consumption patterns are unsustainable. But time is running out for the implementation of the required economic, industrial, agricultural and social shifts – and they are politically very difficult to introduce.

The speaker will present some worrying background on water consumption and the measures needed to avert a crisis, which will have consequences not just for China, but for the rest of the world, their severity depending on the speed and success with which China is able to meet the challenge. Bio:

Charlie Parton spent 22 years of his 37 year diplomatic career working in or on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In his final posting he was seconded to the EU Delegation in Beijing, where, as First Counsellor until late 2016, he focussed on Chinese politics and internal developments, and advised the EU and Member States on how China’s politics might affect their interests. He has also worked in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Libya and Mali. In 2017 he set up his own consultancy, China Ink, and was chosen as the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Special Adviser on China; he returned to Beijing for 4 months as Adviser to the British Embassy to cover the Communist Party’s 19th Congress.

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