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US official calls for US-China cooperation on air quality

2013-12-11 09:00 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said on Tuesday that air quality challenges could be an opportunity for cooperation between the US and China.

"Climate change is a significant public health and environmental challenge, but it is an opportunity as well for cooperation between our countries," she said in a speech to the School of the Environment, Tsinghua University.

McCarthy, who is on a four-day visit in China, said China's air pollution challenges bore some similarities to the United States in the 1950s and 1960s and that the US could share its experience with China in this regard.

During her visit, McCarthy met with Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian and Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission Xie Zhenhua.

The two sides discussed the work of the US-China climate change working group.

"China has taken additional significant steps to strengthen the emission standards for vehicles and industries, to create cleaner fuels and to address air pollution from coal fired power plants," she said.

During her stay in Beijing, she visited the Beijing air monitoring center and was impressed by China's work to develop air quality management infrastructure, which is "centrally organized but locally implemented".

"That is how you are going to have long-term success when you clearly engage the provinces in these activities," she said.

She called on the two sides to face challenges together and build a clean energy economy of the future.

"Improving air quality and expanding public health protection can be done in a way that improves and expands economic opportunities," she said.

This is McCarthy's second trip to China in three years.

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