Air quality management is an ongoing, iterative process of setting standards and objectives, designing and implementing control strategies, and assessing the status and progress of the pollution control mechanisms—steps all informed by a solid foundation of scientific research and technical expertise. In a presentation to the Ministry of Environmental Protection in Beijing, Christopher James explored the role of emissions permits as an integral part of an effective air quality plan. China’s current air quality management program features environmental impact assessments and pollution discharge fee systems, with several regions also conducting pilot programs for emissions trading schemes. Yet not all cities and provinces require operating permits for emitting enterprises. Drawing on best practices from the United States and Europe, Mr. James encourages Chinese air regulators to put in place a transparent emissions control program that is simple to administer. Permitting procedures should require use of the most effective—not necessarily the newest— technologies and focus on addressing the largest enterprises first. He also recommends drawing on Chinese experience with environmental impact assessments, local permitting, and emissions trading system pilots.