California's air quality is far from perfect, but compared to China, where layers of pollution hang over the capital city, the golden state is an oasis. That's why the United Nations brought the two together. On Tuesday, the state agreed to serve as a climate change model for China.
"It has been very aggressive in trying new strategies, strategies for appliance efficiencies, building efficiencies, exactly the kinds of things China's gotta do a better job on in the future," said Professor Chris Field, from the Carnegie Institution for Science.
As part of the deal, California will share research, policies and technology with China for the next five years.
At this 1990 institute dinner in Burlingame, where Bay Area researchers discuss China and U.S. relations, the newfound pact is seen as significant on many levels.
As far as what California will gain from this partnership, many here say it's the Chinese testing ground, meaning if a new clean air technology were to be developed here in California, it could be tested and made in China and cost a lot less.
"This can be a beginning for the cooperation, one would hope, that it would move into bi-national cooperation between the whole U.S. and China," said Professor Emeritus Robert Scalapino, a political science professor at U.C. Berkeley.
Scalapino sees the partnership as one that could help the bond between the U.S. and China grow, especially in light of wide spread opposition to China's hosting the Olympics.
"At this particular moment, it's rather interesting and important that we try to launch a positive relationship," said Scalapino.
"I think it's wonderful," said Robert Wu, from the U.S.-China Green Energy Council.
Those who remember China in the pre-pollution days, consider this a necessary step, not because of the politics involved, but because of the global, greater good.