John Stossel

We do need some rules. It's good that government built sewage treatment plants. Today, the rivers around Manhattan are so clean that I swim in them. It's good that we forced industry to stop polluting the air. Scrubbers in smokestacks and catalytic converters on cars made our lives better. The air gets cleaner every time someone replaces an old car with a new one.

But those were measures against real pollution -- soot, particulates, sulfur, etc. What global warming hysterics want to fight is merely carbon dioxide. That's what plants breathe. CO2 may prove to be a problem, but we don't know that now.

The world has real problems, though: malaria, malnutrition, desperate poverty. Our own country, while relatively rich, is deep in debt. Obsessing about greenhouse gases makes it harder to address these more serious problems.

Environmentalists assume that as people get richer and use more energy, they pollute more. The opposite is true. As nations industrialize, they pay more attention to pollution. Around the world, it's the most prosperous nations that now have the cleanest air and water.

Industrialization allows people to use fewer resources. Instead of burning trees for power, we make electricity from natural gas. We figure out how to get more food from smaller pieces of land. And one day we'll probably even invent energy sources more efficient than oil and gas. We'll use them because they're cost-effective, not because government forces us to.

So let's chill out about global warming. We don't need more micromanagement from government. We need less.

Then free people -- and rapidly increasing prosperity -- will create a better world.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate