A Republican Congressman from Alabama suggested during a Congressional hearing Wednesday that rocks and erosion, not climate change, may be causing sea levels to rise.
I thought I'd heard about everything stupid coming from Congress in all of my years as a Congressional staffer and journalist, but this one takes the cake. Rocks causing the sea levels to rise? And this guy actually is a United States Congressman?
Not only is Rep. Mo Brooks a real Congressman, he is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. How in the hell did that happen?
The purpose of the hearing was to explore how technology could be deployed for climate change adaptation. But it frequently turned to the basics of climate science.
Many of the questions by Republicans and Democrats alike were directed to Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts and former senior adviser to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
A study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March documented accelerating sea-level rise driven by climate change. Duffy said that "the last 100-year increase in sea-level rise, as I mentioned earlier, has clearly been attributed to human activities, greenhouse gas emissions."
Then the brilliant Brooks asked him if maybe there couldn't be some other factors involved.
"What about erosion?" Brooks suggested. "Every time you have that soil or rock, whatever it is, that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise because now you've got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up."
Duffy said he didn't believe that really explained sea-level rise.
"I'm pretty sure that on human time scales those are minuscule effects," Duffy said.
I guess Brooks must have played in a creek when he was a kid like I did. My brother and I would find a spot where we wanted to play and if we put enough rocks in the bottom, that water hole would grow wider at the edges. Brooks must have been thinking of that kind of thing.
Brooks then claimed that Antarctic ice is growing, citing "plenty of studies" that he claimed prove that point.
Duffy responded that satellite records have documented "shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage."
"I've got a NASA base in my district," Brooks said. "And apparently, they're telling you one thing and me a different thing."
There were other brilliant statements by GOP climate change deniers at the hearing, but none as blatantly stupid as those by Brooks. What a rock head.
The hearing was held just a few days after The Washington Post reported that a Department of Defense report to Congress removed nearly all references to "climate change" in its report. Check out the video.
So I guess Brooks and his GOP cronies, if nothing else, are being consistent with the ridiculous assertions of the Trump administration.