Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A Republican Congressman with a solid reputation as a science denier has made the idiotic claim sea level rise is being caused by rocks and soil falling into the oceans.
Mo Brooks (R-AL), who succeeded Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions in Alabama’s 5th congressional district, made this nonsensical claim during a hearing held last week by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology about how technology can be used to address climate change.
In answering a a question by Philip Duffy, president of Woods Hole Research Center, about what might be driving rising sea levels in addition to climate change, Brooks said soil erosion might be a factor.
“Every single year that we’re on Earth, you have huge tons of silt deposited by the Mississippi River, by the Amazon River, by the Nile, by every major river system — and for that matter, creek, all the way down to the smallest systems,” said Brooks. “And 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.”
Brooks said examples of his belief are the White Cliffs of Dover in the UK and California “where you have the waves crashing against the shorelines” and “you have the cliffs crash into the sea.” Brooks said “All of that displaces the water which forces it to rise, does it not? I’m pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects.”
The scientific community rejects any notion that sea level rise is being caused soil erosion. An analysis by The Washington Post found it would take the equivalent of the top five inches of land (127 mm) from the entire surface area of the United States to cause the oceans to rise the 3.3 millimeters a year currently seen, and those five inches would have to fall into the oceans every year to explain the current rate at which they are rising.
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