Mo Brooks is just a plain-spoken man from Alabama with some theories on climate change. Luckily, because everything is terrible, he’s a congressman and sits on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee so he has a platform to float some of his entirely unfounded ideas like, for instance, sea levels are rising because rocks keep falling in the ocean.
With climate scientist Philip Duffy on hand to testify before the committee, per E&E News, Rep. Brooks unleashed a doozy of a theory that posited erosion, the gradual diminution of land masses, could be rising the sea floor and, in turn, ocean levels.
As examples to highlight his theory, the representative from Alabama pointed to rocky shorelines across the California coast and the White Cliffs of Dover along the English Channel that break off and tumble into the water every year. “All of that displaces water which forces it to rise, does it not?” Brooks asked. He also suggested that silt from rivers including the Mississippi, Amazon, and Nile could be contributing to the changing levels of the seas.
“Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” Brooks said.
Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center and a former senior advisor on the US Global Change Research Program, calmly dismissed the notion. “I’m pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects,” he said.
As E&E News points out, Brooks’ concept about erosion is “not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers.” There are a number of studies that have been done in recent years on the connection between rising sea levels and coastal erosion, but they all seem to suggest the former causes the latter, not the other way around.
Brooks and other Republicans on the committee spent the majority of the session pushing back on Duffy and established climate science, which is pretty much par for the course at this point. The Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration has basically done everything it can to wipe away any trace of acknowledgment that climate change is real, including removing its site dedicated to the topic.
Meanwhile, the earth does not seem to give a shit about the administration’s denialism. Last month was the third-hottest April on record globally, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and scientists reported earlier this year that they have detected an acceleration in the rise of sea levels. Must just be all those falling rocks.