London Mayor Boris Johnson said his city wants to offer a good urban environment, a concern the UK capital shares with Beijing, where some residents wear masks to protect themselves.[China Daily]
A deal signed with London this week to help tackle air pollution in Beijing is the latest in a string of moves to solve pollution problems through international cooperation.
Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun and his counterpart in London, Boris Johnson, signed a special memorandum of understanding between the two cities on Sunday, agreeing to exchange information on science, technology and environmental issues.
Shared areas of interest include greener electric bus fleets, energy efficiency programs and measures to improve air quality, according to a news release from the London government.
Cooperation on environmental protection is just one of many areas tackled in the memorandum, said Ming Dengli, head of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau’s international cooperation division.
Johnson, the mayor of London, said in the news release that London and Beijing have much in common, including the shared challenges of creating a high-quality urban environment and providing for the needs of a growing population.
“I know Beijing has a keen interest in the air quality measures we are using in London to lower emissions and monitor pollution. I look forward to continuing a strong and fruitful relationship between the London and Beijing governments,” he said.
“London and Beijing, because of the 50 years of (air pollution control) history that London has had, are now going to work together on tackling air pollution,” said John Edwards, climate change, energy and knowledge economy counselor at the British embassy in Beijing.
He said among the projects planned for the future is an information exchange between the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering in Beijing, looking at steps London has taken to deal with air pollution and how Beijing could learn from its experience.
The memorandum is the latest in a series of moves aimed at encouraging international environmental cooperation.
Meeting at the 15th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting, held in Japan in May, environment ministers from China, South Korea and Japan agreed to establish a policy dialogue mechanism on the issue of airborne pollution.
Under the mechanism, the three countries will cooperate on policies and techniques to prevent and control airborne pollution, including the development of monitoring techniques and capacity building.
The agreement underlines the already close working relationship enjoyed by the three countries in research on ozone pollution and sandstorm control, according to information provided by China’s Environmental Protection Ministry.
In April, Chinese Environment Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian and France’s then-minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy Delphine Batho signed an environmental cooperation agreement in Beijing, witnessed by President Xi Jinping and visiting French President Francois Hollande. Among the major areas of agreement were cooperation on improving air quality, including exchanges among environmental experts, as well as joint training sessions and symposiums.
Chai Fahe, deputy director of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.
He said previous cooperation had mainly focused on fields such as acid rain and sand storms, whereas now the major issues are shifting to basic research studies of key airborne pollutants such as fine particles and the development of relevant monitoring techniques.