Against All Odds


How America's Century-Old Quest for Clean Air May Spur a New Era of Global Environmental Cooperation

Achieving healthy air quality is a growing global concern, and Robert Percival discusses the critical junctures in U.S. environmental history that have led to the emergence of global environmental regulation, particularly in relation to China. According to a 2013 World Health Organization report, more than one million people die every year in China from exposure to air pollution. By referencing historical U.S. tragedies and air quality achievements, particularly the Clean Air Act, Percival uses his conversations with Chinese officials to point toward a turning point in China’s legislation and attitude towards this environmental issue.
Achieving healthy air quality is a growing global concern, and Robert Percival discusses the critical junctures in U.S. environmental history that have led to the emergence of global environmental regulation, particularly in relation to China. According to a 2013 World Health Organization report, more than one million people die every year in China from exposure to air pollution. By referencing historical U.S. tragedies and air quality achievements, particularly the Clean Air Act, Percival uses his conversations with Chinese officials to point toward a turning point in China’s legislation and attitude towards this environmental issue.

Robert V. Percival is the Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.