Smog returned to Beijing’s skies on Monday, despite claims by Chinese officials that drastic anti-pollution measures had slashed the chances of Olympic events having to be rescheduled. The familiar murky air seen in the capital reduced visibility to a few hundred meters just four days before the Olympic opening ceremony.

It’s like a slow-motion train wreck somehow involving the national pride of one billion people. Given the country’s environmental record (not to mention political repression and opposition to human rights), I hope that pollution is a major story in these Olympic games and that, frankly, it embarrasses the hell out of the host country. 

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