James E. Hansen, the NASA climate scientist who has become an outspoken campaigner against coal burning, was among 29 protesters arrested as they intentionally crossed onto the property of Massey Energy, the biggest company conducting mountaintop mining in West Virginia. Dr. Hansen and the others, including Ken Hechler, 94, a former congressman, and the actress Darryl Hannah, were cited for trespassing and released, said Nell Greenberg, a spokeswoman for the Rain Forest Action Network, whose executive director was also arrested....MOREThe Charleston Gazette's headline for the above story is:
Climate scientist Hansen agrees to debate Massey's Blankenship
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- NASA climate scientist James Hansen has agreed to debate global warming, the coal industry and mountaintop removal mining with Massey Energy President Don Blankenship later this week.
Officials from Massey and from environmental groups who are working with Hansen on a major protest today in the Coal River Valley were busy late Monday trying to work out details, including a time and location, for the event.
Both sides, along with West Virginia Public Broadcasting, were trying to work out arrangements for the event to take place Wednesday at Mountain State University in Beckley. A time had not yet been set.
Blankenship challenged Hansen to debate the issues after it was announced that Hansen would be among the opponents of mountaintop removal who planned to risk arrest by trespassing on Massey property during today's protest near Marsh Fork Elementary School at Sundial.
Hansen later changed his schedule, to stay in West Virginia another day to take part in the debate. Hansen proposed that the debate take place at a school, with both men getting time for extensive opening statements, followed by a question-and-answer period.
"Thanks for your offer to publicly discuss climate change, human-made global warming and its implications for the coal industry in general and mountaintop removal in particular," Hansen wrote in an e-mail to Blankenship. "That is an excellent suggestion. I would be glad to participate in a format that allows the public to become better acquainted with the science and its implications."
Later, Hansen indicated he would appear and give a presentation on global warming and the coal industry, regardless of whether Blankenship agreed to specific debate logistics....MORE
Update: The Charleston Gazette's blog, "Coal Tattoo" has more details of the debate:
Coal and climate: Hansen agrees to debate Blankenship
...I received this note from Dr. Hansen, who asked that I forward the information on to Blankenship … I’ve done that, and I’m sharing it with Coal Tattoo readers as well:
Thanks for your offer to publicly discuss climate change, human-made global warming, and its implications for the coal industry in general and mountaintop removal in particular. That is an excellent suggestion. I would be glad to participate in a format that allows the public to become better acquainted with the science and its implications.
I had planned to return to a meeting in Washington immediately after the activities at your place on Tuesday, but to accommodate a public discussion, I will stay another day. I expect that we will be able to find a school auditorium that would be well-suited for presentations and discussion. I am scouting that out now and will get back to you with specific information.
Usually I spend close to an hour on a climate science discussion for the public, but I can shorten that to about 40 minutes, so that you can have a similar time to present your views, if you would like that much time. You are welcome to speak either before or after me. After we have both spoken, we can open it up for discussion with the public.
If for any reason you are unable to find time for this discussion on Wednesday, I will give my talk anyhow. Hopefully the public will then be able to get back to you with information and questions about how your practices relate to climate, the environment, and the future that will be faced by young people and future generations.
Thanks again for your helpful suggestion. I very much agree on the importance of reaching out to the public and increasing public understanding of scientific matters.