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A real American hero: Birmingham meteorologist James Spann

(James Spann/Facebook)


If Birmingham had its version of Tom Hanks – someone widely recognized that is well-liked by the community – the top candidate would have to be ABC 33/40 meteorologist James Spann.

Going back decades (including this writer’s childhood), Spann has been a fixture on Birmingham television as a local weatherman.

He elevated his popularity in recent years by embracing new technology. He participates in the long-running WeatherBrains podcast and has an active social media presence that features retweets from his Twitter followers who offer weather imagery or on-the-scene news alerts.

However, what made Spann a heroic figure, and more than just a likable TV personality, is back at the height of the global warming craze, he didn’t kowtow to those behind an aggressive shaming campaign proclaiming that the climate was changing because of human activity.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina had devastated Louisiana and Mississippi, and people were seeking solutions. Reducing carbon emissions as prescribed by those that promoted the global warming theory was one solution.

That next year former Vice President Al Gore, in an effort to find meaning in his life after a disappointing bid for the presidency in 2000, was doubling and tripling down on the theory of anthropogenic global warming. His “An Inconvenient Truth” movie that pushed this claim was breaking records for earned media.

The Weather Channel also hitched its wagon to this craze. In late 2006, Heidi Cullen, then the designated climate expert for the network, suggested meteorologists that were not accepting and actively promoting this theory should have their American Meteorological Society (AMS) credentials taken away.

“If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval,” Cullen wrote. “Clearly, the AMS doesn’t agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns.”

Spann did not cower to climate change political correctness. He was very public in his condemnation of Cullen’s position.

“I understand that’s something that you can’t drive through and get that,” Spann said in an interview with then-HLN host Glenn Beck in January 2007. “That involves academic standards. That involves your on-air work, your content, your style and a rigorous examination. You work hard for that. And she’s saying if you don’t agree with me, your certification needs to go away. And to me, that’s very troubling. I think in science you need a free marketplace of ideas, a good exchange. I love to read papers from those that are on the manmade, catastrophic global warming bandwagon. That’s the only way I can educate myself. But for them to try to silence this side, that is very disturbing.”

Spann became one of the early credible skeptics of global warming alarmism. Over the years, he has stuck to his guns despite facing criticism from every left-wing global warming alarmist storefront in America.

He is still, however, treated as a subject of curiosity: a weatherman that doesn’t feel obligated to preach the gospel of global warming alarmism.

In an interview with Vice News’ Arielle Duhaime-Ross that aired earlier this month, Spann dismissed any responsibility to discuss climate change during his on-air weather reports.

“I say it’s weather,” Spann said. “And if you want to know about climate, go talk to a climatologist. I do weather. I don’t do climate.”

He later explains how he views his role, which is one meant to guard against a more immediate human safety threat of severe weather.

“So if you’re in my position – you’re on the wall over here, and we got a tornado that’s down in Greensboro, Ala. moving toward Brent at 45 miles per hour, are you supposed to stop and say, ‘Wait a minute, this is caused by manmade climate’? Climate attribution studies take years. My role is to mitigate the loss of human life. Somebody else’s role is to fight that battle.”

Although Spann doesn’t make it a daily crusade to rail against the global warmers, being one of the first credible skeptics of the last decades has paid dividends for the American people.

Last summer, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. That deal could have cost the country 2.7 million lost jobs over the next seven years according to a study from the National Economic Research Associates.

Had Spann and other like-minded individuals not had the fortitude early on to be skeptical of manmade global warming theories that were put upon the public as some indisputable religion, Trump might not have had the political capital or courage to spare the United States from such an agreement.

That’s why James Spann is a treasure to the state of Alabama.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.