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Photo Slideshow: City of Coal on the Inner Mongolia Steppe

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Xilinhot — an Inner Mongolian outpost of 177,000 residents, separated from Beijing by a 12-hour train ride — is at the center of the Xilin Gol Grassland, one of China's largest prairies and livestock production regions. The north's coal mines, trucks, and power plants are representative of the nation's coal dependency, a lifeline with an insatiable thirst for water
Shanghai Drought

Rains Bring Relief For Six-Month China Drought, But Chronic Water Problems Loom

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Although now satiated, the dry spell is the latest in a growing trend of severe water shortages threatening China's food production, energy generation, and accelerating modernization.

Photo Slideshow: Food and Farmers — China's Other Challenge

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The farm sector and the coal sector together made up 85 percent of water used in China last year. These photos take a look at the people and places affected by rising energy demand, accelerating modernization, and diminishing freshwater resources.
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China's Other Looming Choke Point: Food Production

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The Yellow River Basin is the center of a contest over water, energy, and agriculture.

Heart of Dryness: Climate Change Coping Strategies

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Since the dawn of Homo sapiens in arid Africa, nine tenths of our evolution has unfolded as foragers. Only relatively recently did our species embark on agriculture, and recent events suggest certain limits to that extraordinary experiment. Exponential population growth has combined with unprecedented climate change until half the planet’s land surface can now be classified as drylands—arid landscapes inhabited by a third of humankind.