Pollution has no boundaries: US official
Updated: 2006-04-14 06:30
SHANGHAI: China and the United States are working together to improve the world's environment, according to a top US environmental official.
Stephen Johnson, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, summarized his meeting with his Chinese counterparts, from the State Environmental Protection Administration and Ministry of Water Resources, as "very productive."
"We agreed that we live in a global economy and a global environment. We also agreed that the US and China are vital to the health of our environment. And pollution has no political or geographical boundaries," said Johnson, who was on his last leg of his week-long China trip, which also took him to Beijing and Lijiang, Yunnan Province.
He described a Financial Times report two days ago as misquoting him and taking things out of context.
In the Financial Times story, Johnson was quoted as accusing China of spreading air pollutants, such as mercury, to as far away as the United States.
"It is true that China, India and other countries, including South Korea and the United States, all contribute to global pollution. That is why it's important for us to work together to address the global environmental problem," said Johnson.
He said the US experience is a good example of economic growth going hand in hand with environmental protection.
In the past 35 years, the US gross domestic product has almost tripled, the population has increased by 40 per cent and transportation volume has increased considerably, but air pollution has reduced by 50 per cent.
According to the US environment chief, the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, that will put China in the global spotlight, will provide wonderful opportunities for the two countries to work together to improve the health of the global environment.
China and the US are co-operating on many projects in energy security and clean energy.
The "Methane to Market" project will help Chinese to catch methane gas from waste dumps to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and will also use it to run machinery.
Under the project "Future Gen," the US will help China to apply the technology of using coal with almost no emissions.
"It is a win for energy security and a win for the environment," Johnson said.
In his last day in Shanghai today, Johnson will attend several events that demonstrate China's commitment to the co-operation with the United States in promoting cleaner air.
Johnson along with Chinese officials will also announce an air quality forecasting and public notification system in Shanghai to be modelled on the AIRNow system successfully used in more than 300 US cities to help protect public health.
On a tour of Shanghai's Waigaoqiao coal-fired power
plant, Johnson will observe advanced scrubber technologies that have
been installed to control sulphur dioxide emissions that lead to acid
rain, smog and other pollution.
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