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Clean The Air

August 6, 2008

Competitors and spectators at the Olympic Games in Beijing will see with their own eyes why progressive nations are refusing to agree to so-called "clean air" treaties that would come down hard on some countries and let others off the hook.

They also will smell good reasons to reject such pacts - and may well choke on even more arguments against them.

We refer to the level of air pollution in China, particularly in and around its large cities, of course. Even as athletes began arriving in Beijing for the Olympics last weekend, Chinese authorities had been unable to clean up the atmosphere around their capital. Despite strict, temporary curbs on pollutants, the air in Beijing was so bad that visibility was limited to about half a mile.

U.S. officials have refused to buckle to international pressure that they agree to treaties such as the "Kyoto Protocol" that would have imposed severe pollution control rules on many industrialized nations.

Our air already is much, much cleaner than that in burgeoning industrial nations such as China - which would be exempted from most of the proposed new rules.

Our economy would be hit hard by them - while countries such as China would be permitted to continue darkening the skies.

On our own, not because of pressure from other countries, Americans have made incredible strides in cleaning up the environment. We're willing to do more - but not while other countries continue to be big polluters.



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