RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Did you have any idea that government can end pollution with a simple command/edict/law? Well, the Chinese government thinks so.

Air pollution in Beijing will be largely gone before the Summer Olympics open – because the government has decreed it.

The air in China’s capital is among the world’s dirtiest. But as Time magazine notes: “Beijing Orders Pollution to Vanish.”

As we in the U.S. grapple with soaring energy costs and environmental concerns of our own, perhaps we should follow the communist example: Government-decreed industrial and traffic “crunchdowns,” as Time describes them.

Kyoto goes mandatory for the Games that Beijing calls “One World One Dream.”

Factories are being told to cut emissions by 30 percent. Others are being shut down. And, starting July 20, traffic will be sharply curtailed.

At least the Olympic torch (designed by Lenovo) and Olympic flame are still to be allowed to burn –so far.

If you thought drought restrictions in our neck of the woods were strict, get this: Beijing drivers can use their vehicles on alternating days, and government vehicle traffic has to drop 70 percent. (Taxis exempted!) Hello, telecommuting.

Just imagine the economic havoc that will be wreaked by these regulations.

Of course, if the winds aren’t blowing correctly, even these drastic measures might not be enough.

According to Time, China has spent $17 billion in trying to clean up the polluted mess that its capital has become. So there’s more to cleaning up than Politburo decree.

But if the skies are clear over Beijing as the Games begin, a precedent will have been set for governments to follow all over the world.

Be green, be clean, or be gone – to jail!

Are the crunchdowns a permanent solution? Dream on. Once the athletes and press are gone, Beijing will quickly be as dark at noon on some days as the Triangle is at dusk. And we all know our air quality leaves much to be desired.