Mike Millikin reports:

The Department of Energy (DOE) is leading a U.S. multi-agency team to help Beijing achieve World Health Organization (WHO) standards for urban air quality by 2008–in time for the Summer Olympics.

The Chinese government intends to invest $17-$23 billion to meet the goal, and is planning on  major reductions in coal use, tougher fuel-quality and emissions standards and further development of a protective greenbelt that separates north China from silt-laden desert winds.

I was briefly in Beijing in the summer of 2001 as a tourist, and the air pollution there was absolutely staggering. It’s hard to imagine that a crash program would get the city up to WHO standards by 2008, but I suppose stranger things have happened. In any case, it’s good to see collaboration between the U.S. and China on this issue.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.