If the popular press is your source for climate science, you are probably terrified the end is near-moving as far inland as possible and staying inside to avoid heat stroke. You might be altering your lifestyle to combat the effects of carbon dioxide emissions. But if you look at the facts about “global warming,” the picture is not as bleak as it may seem.

Whenever anyone refuses to debate an issue and repeatedly asserts the “debate is over,” red flags should go up. Al Gore, who brought his man-made global warming message to Austin on October 1st, claims the debate is over. But as MIT Professor Richard Lindzen says, this is “a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition.”

Findings released in September reveal more than 500 scientists have published research findings refuting one or more elements of man-made global warming theory. The climate debate is anything but over.

However, even if human-created global warming were proved, there would still be no need for alarm.

Gore and other global warming alarmists insist increased global temperatures are bad. On the contrary, a warmer earth would be a net benefit to us all.

Uninhabitable and inarable land could become suitable for living and farming. More carbon dioxide in the air means healthier plants and trees. Better agriculture raises living standards and reduces poverty.

Warmer temperatures reduce energy bills, as savings on heating costs are estimated to exceed added cooling costs. Additionally, cold causes twice as many deaths as heat, worldwide; seven times as many in Europe. Warming is positive and shouldn’t be feared.

However, even if we ignore all of the evidence and allow that man is causing harmful warming, carbon dioxide-reduction projects are still terrible investments. The European Union (a party to the Kyoto emissions treaty) spends vast amounts of money to curtail emissions, but, since 2000, the EU’s increase in emissions is almost double that of the United States (a non-Kyoto country). Even if all Kyoto-signees curb their emissions, those reductions will be offset by massive increases from non-Kyoto developing countries, like China and India.

At the Copenhagen Consensus Center, top-level economists (including four Nobel laureates) evaluated 17 global priorities, from an investment standpoint. The three climate initiatives claimed the bottom three spots, all categorized as “Bad Opportunities,” meaning “for each dollar spent, we would end up doing much less than a dollar worth of good for the world.”

Pumping vast sums of money into global warming makes no sense, when the same money could lead to actual solutions to genuine global problems, such as malnutrition, dangerous water and unsanitary living conditions, HIV/AIDS, and malaria.

Cutting emissions will negatively impact the reliable, efficient energy supply that has been, and continues to be, crucial to Texas’ economic growth. A booming energy market has opened the floodgates of economic prosperity here, and decreasing the energy supply or artificially raising its costs will harm all sectors of our economy.

Measures proposed by climate scaremongers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions threaten our economic prosperity. That reality, rather than the possibility of melting ice caps and rising sea levels, is a genuine cause for concern.

Drew Thornley is a policy analyst in the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.