China surely has much to learn from the United States when it comes to reducing air pollution, and who better than Environmental Protection Agency chief Stephen L. Johnson to return to the Middle Kingdom for a week-long trip — his second visit there in a year — to help them out.
Johnson is part of a group of Cabinet officials traveling to Beijing for an economic exchange trip at the end of the week. But, hey, that’s a long way to go just for a two-day meeting. So he’s already arrived in Shanghai, got there Sunday, for an important roundtable discussion with American and Chinese businessmen “on the importance of sound environmental regulation and consistent enforcement.” Then he’s off to talk to students at Tongji University, a highly regarded institution known for its science and engineering faculties. Maybe not the caliber of nearby Fudan University, but quite good.
From there he’s off to Xian, in central China, for critical meetings with officials from the Northwest Regional Supervision Center and the provincial Environmental Protection Bureau. There, according to an EPA news release, “Johnson will learn more about the evolving relationship between the RSCs and the provincial EPBs.” As everyone knows, it is essential for the lame duck Johnson, who has seven weeks left as EPA chief, to learn about that important relationship before he heads off to the private sector.
We’ve advised him that if, by some chance, he can break away, there are of course the famed terra-cotta soldiers of the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.) and an equally impressive dig recently opened just by the airport in Xian. The famed dumplings at that restaurant just outside the city wall are also not to be missed.
After that, Johnson speeds off to join other Cabinet officials in Beijing on Thursday for a two-day meeting with Chinese counterparts before rushing home over the weekend to impart all those important lessons to other EPA officials.
–The Washington Post
Coal, Industry and cars make a devil’s brew of air pollution in China. This is Beijing traffic.