A gathering of about 70 people at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe on Saturday were told that global warming doesn't really exist; and that global temperatures have actually been in a cooling cycle in the past several years.

Paul Saunders, a retired manufacturing engineer with a master's degree in science chemical engineering, said of global warming, "The best scientific minds don't accept this theory. Only the scientists who can be bought" are keeping the debate alive.

"Honest science asks, 'What is the truth' not 'What is the consensus?'," Saunders told the group.

Saunders' talk was during a meeting of the Lehighton 912 Project. He said there is major funding available for scientists who back the global warming theory, while those who speak against it are ostracized. He also cautioned that major problems will occur to the American economy if the proposed Cap and Trade legislation is passed.

If politicians have their way and continue to adopt regulations supportive of the global warming theory, such as Cap and Trade, electric rates will rise 90 percent and there will be a 30 to 60 percent increase in the cost of food and other economic goods, according to Saunders.

He told the gathering that even if politicians don't get their way with global warming policies, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be adopting policies in which "all your rights are contingent on national authority."

Saunders said that back in the 70s when a cooling cycle was occurring, a fear was propagated that an ice age was forthcoming. Then a cycle of warming occurred and the global warming theory evolved.

Since 2002, cooling has again been occurring.

He said from 1979 to 2001, the earth had .24 degrees Celsius of warming. From 2002 to 2009, there was .27 C of cooling.

The Lehighton 912 group was informed that there are four legs to the global warming debate:

Ÿ Corruption caused by money and power. He said there is a $6 billion annual budget for confirming the global warming crisis, but nothing in the budget for research by skeptics of the theory.

Ÿ Invalid surface temperature station data.

Ÿ Non-validated computer climate models.

Ÿ A series of alarmist lies fueled by a biased media.

Saunders, quoting a veteran scientist, said that of the surface temperature stations, only 11 percent are accurate and these are located in the rural countryside. He said the scientist, Dr. Patrick Michaels, was fired from his job "because he dared to be a skeptic." According to Wikipedia, Dr. Michaels "is a former state climatologist for Virginia, a position he was appointed to in 1980 and resigned from in 2007."

Among the false claims by the global warming advocates is that polar bears are endangered. Saunders said the polar bear population was estimated at 500 to 1,000 in the 1950s and 1960s, but stands at 20,000 to 25,000 in 2009.

Another false claim, he said, is that Antarctic ice is melting.

"It's not," he said, adding that there is 2 percent of the Antarctic which experienced melting, but on the eastern side, 85 percent of the Antarctic has seen the amount of ice increase.

One of the largest falsehoods with global warming, said the science engineer, is that carbon dioxide is impacting temperatures. He said the fact is that temperatures are affecting carbon dioxide.

Other things impacting the Earth's temperature, Saunders said, was variation in the sun's magnetism, heat shedding from the equator by the precipitation system, and variations in the Earth's orbit.

The fear, he said, is "We will either get EPA harassing us or Congress with Cap and Trade." Either way, he said, rights will be violated to the degree that industry is destroyed and America will decline to Third Nation status.

A major concern Saunders has is the shutting down of coal-fired power plants. He said this "will render the electric grid unstable," adding that it's already happening in England.

If some lawmakers have their way, he said, the government will control home temperatures through smart thermostats.

In addition, Americans will need a permit to build a four-unit apartment and won't be able to sell a home without obtaining a green license.

He criticized not only Al Gore but John McCain for backing the global warming theory. He said the myth of global warming can be stopped by opposing the laws and informing neighbors and friends otherwise.

More information, he said, is available on the Web site www.meetup.com/Americans-for-Individual-Rights/file [1].

Another speaker at the meeting was John Brinson, CEO of 24/7 Fitness Centers in the Lehigh Valley and a graduate of West Point.

Brinson commented, "It is very dangerous to see that so many people don't know what's going on."

In charge of the meeting was Mary Ellen Salerno, president of the Lehighton 912 Project.