EPA and China Environmental Relations as of October 12, 2010

I have come to China to mark 30 years of environmental partnership between our two nations, said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in her presentation yesterday -- October 12, 2010 -- to 300 students at Sun Yat-sen University in China.  This trip is the current-EPA's first official visit to China.

EPA's Jackson speaks to Chinese students

Jackson explained that her first official action on the EPA trip to China October 2010 was to join Minister Zhou (picture of Minister Zhou here) to renew official cooperation between the US and China.

"The partnership between our two countries’ environmental agencies began when I was about your age – and before most of you had even been born," said Jackson.  (For reference, see U.S. Environmental Policy in the past 50 years, written by Chris Watts for Environmental Leader, the esteemed Product Stewardship publication.)

From there,  Jackson went on to say that the future would require the help of the generation to whom she spoke.  She outlined the list of international priorities as the U.S. EPA sees it:  
  1. Combating climate change by limiting pollutants
  2. Improving urban air quality
  3. Expanding access to clean water
  4. Cleaning up electronic waste
  5. Building strong environmental institutions
Today, October 13, 2010, in Shanghai, Jackson took the conversation about information exchange, visibility, and credibility to the business community, speaking at a Corporate Environmental Stewardship forum.  "We need industries and cutting-edge companies to drive innovation," said Jackson.

Jackson makes the US-China initiative very personal 

Easy to veer off-course with this approach and find yourself in a Lifetime-Television Special with a hanky in your hand (not that there's anything wrong with that).  But it appears Jackson handled personalizing the EPA's hopes for the US-China relationship effectively and without unnecessary sentiment.  Here's what she said to the 300 or so students gathered at the university in China -- to personalize the issues and future of environmental policy:
I have come from across the world to continue our work together and to challenge you to be a part of the solution.  It is important to me as someone who values and deeply appreciates the relationship between our countries.  It is important to me as someone who cares for our environment and our planet.  But it is also very important to me personally.   

You are the young men and women who will live side by side in the global community with the generation of young Americans growing up today.  That generation includes my two young sons.  My sons traveled with me to China on this trip.  We toured some of your cities and saw some of your great and historic landmarks.  It’s an experience they will never forget, and I hope they are able to return many times. 

I look at all of you and realize that most of you here are not much older than they are.  When I think of what your future holds, I know it is a future you share with my two sons and every young American.  In that future, our two nations will be brought even closer together through technological advances.  
Jackson wrapped it up by saying the future will hold mutual economic and environmental opportunities as well as challenges. China and the United States, she said, must face challenges together to advance innovation, protect human health, ensure prosperity for future generations -- it's time to take steps that will not only safeguard each of our country’s welfare but protect our planet as well.

Jackson thanked the group and took questions.  For more on this, keep an eye on the US EPA web site.  For information on Actio and how they contribute to positive change through innovative technologies, go to http://www.actio.net.