Why the U.S.-China Emissions Pact Could Be a Climate Change Breakthrough

Strollers wearing masks last month at Beijing's Tiananmen Square Photograph by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Before President Barack Obama and other world leaders arrived in Beijing, environmentalists and others concerned about climate change had reason to be doubtful about the meeting. First, China’s government tried to turn the capital into a giant Potemkin Village: To clean the city’s air pollution in time for the arrival of the VIPs, the government  told residents to get out of town. When that didn’t work and the smog persisted, China started blocking data on air pollution.

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