Assuming that the global warming debate is settled science, NBC Chief White House correspondent David Gregory asked the White House press secretary the morning of the State of the Union Address if President Bush would “concede that humans are responsible for global warming.” Yet the night before on CNN Headline News, a veteran meteorologist argued that global warming, while real, is not manmade.
Gregory’s question came on the January 23 “Today” show a little more than an hour before “An Inconvenient Truth” received an Oscar nomination for best documentary. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow replied that humans were “partly responsible” but that there also “are a whole series of things that are responsible.”
Gregory didn’t ask what those other things were, but he may have known the answers if he watched the January 22 “Glenn Beck” program.
Carbon emissions are “a pop gun compared to” larger natural influences like “volcanic dust in the stratosphere, the position of the sun, the temperature of the sun, the structure of the Earth’s magnetic poles, and ocean currents,” American Meteorological Society-certified (AMS) meteorologist James Spann told Beck.
“That’s what makes the big changes,” the weather forecaster insisted, adding that he believes “there needs to be a healthy debate” on global warming.
Spann did concede that he would like to reduce carbon emissions for the sake of “air quality” but added he doubted that carbon emissions from manmade sources were the significant factor in global climate change. In fact, Spann noted, today’s warming trend is not unprecedented and may be cyclical in nature.
“To those of us in the operational community – and we’re talking meteorologists that look at computer models and data and assimilate a public forecast – we don’t see much difference in the global warming in the last 10 to 15 years compared to the global warming we had from about 1910 to 1945. The 1930s were extremely warm across the globe, and I just don’t see a lot of difference in that,” noted Spann, the chief weathercaster for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Ala.
According to Spann’s Web site, the University of Alabama graduate’s AMS certification was upgraded in 2005 to that of “Certified Broadcast Meteorologist,” which is the “highest level of certification from the AMS.”
Spann appeared on the Beck program to answer criticism leveled by The Weather Channel’s Heidi Cullen. She argued last December  on her blog that weathercasters who have doubts about human influence on global warming should be punished by being decertified by the American Meteorological Society. Spann answered Cullen’s charges in a January 18 post  to his blog at JamesSpann.com.