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Manafort and Cohen guilty as charged. Also on the Wednesday rundown: Federal figures predict little boost for coal jobs, while EPA admits its new coal rules endanger health; and it turns out drivers want better MPG despite Trump fuel-standard rollbacks.

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Top Climate Scientist Welcomes Skeptics to Charleston Event

Pennsylvania State University Prof. Michael Mann is considered one of the nation's most important climate scientists. He'll be at a Charleston event that's open to the public Tuesday. (Tom Cogill)
Pennsylvania State University Prof. Michael Mann is considered one of the nation's most important climate scientists. He'll be at a Charleston event that's open to the public Tuesday. (Tom Cogill)
June 11, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One of the nation's most prominent climate researchers will be at an event in Charleston on Tuesday.

Michael Mann is a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. He said he's hoping to see climate skeptics there.

The professor is known for his global warming projections, and said there's little doubt in the scientific community about the issue. But he said there are many "victims of an intentional misinformation campaign" - and one reason he's coming to West Virginia is to talk with them.

"I hope that people who are genuinely skeptical will come out to these events, because I'm, in part, really speaking to them,” Mann said. “Let's get past the fake debate about whether the problem is real and on to the worthy debate about what to do about it."

For years, the coal industry and political allies have cast doubt on climate change, at times calling it a hoax or conspiracy. But Mann said events like the 2016 floods were in part caused by the warming climate.

The event, "Conversations on Climate Change,” will take place Tuesday evening at the University of Charleston. At the event, Mann will be joined by three other scientists. Two have questioned if concern over climate change is overstated, although none say it doesn't exist.

For his part, Mann said the nation's energy systems are already changing. He said he thinks one important job now is to make sure the communities that are being hurt by that shift are not left behind.

And despite divisive politics and highly-charged rhetoric, Mann said most people are willing to have sensible discussions when you meet them in person.

"My hope is that these events in West Virginia will be an opportunity to have that sort of face-to-face engagement,” he said. “I give a lots of talks, lots of speeches. The part that I enjoy is the Q-and-A and the discussion that you have with actual people."

Mann said it's likely the U.S. will meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, in spite of opposition to it by the Trump administration. But he's also convinced the Paris climate accord will get the world only about half as far as needed to avoid the "catastrophic impacts" of a warmer planet.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV