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Indeed. Yet delightful as that prospect is, it may never be realized. At the recent annual session of the National People’s Congress, where the parliamentary chairman launched into a tirade against Western-style democracy and chastised us for causing the international economic crisis, it was revealed that spending on environmental projects would be cut from 9 percent to 5 percent. Not only does the line against the West seem to be growing harder, but as one analysis has it, “China’s commitment to greenness appears to be ebbing.”

So, at least for the immediate future, economic concerns seem to trump environmental, and “Two Billion Cars,” while well-researched and solidly written, may be yet another example of California dreaming.

John R. Coyne Jr., a former White House speechwriter, is co-author with Linda Bridges of “Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement,” published by Wiley.