A new sense of cooperation is building between the people of China and the people of the Untied States, based on our shared ties of commerce and culture, our common security interests, and our common enthusiasm for the future. But a big part of that cooperation must rest on our common understanding that we live on the same planet, sharing the same oceans, and breathing the same air.
Not so many years ago in the United States, one of our rivers was so polluted it actually caught fire. Foul air blanketed our cities, acid rain blighted our landscape. Over the last generation, we have worked hard to restore our natural treasures and to find a way to conduct our economy that is more in harmony with the environment.
China’s extraordinary growth has put the same kind of pressures on your environment, and the costs of growth are rising right along with your prosperity. You know better than I that polluted air and water are threatening your remarkable progress. Smog has caused entire Chinese cities to disappear from satellite photographs. And respiratory illness is China’s number one health problem.
We also know that more and more environmental problems in the United States, in China, and elsewhere are not just national problems, they are global problems. We must work together to protect the environment and there is a great deal that we can do together.