Climate scientist schools Republican who blames rocks for rising sea


Republicans are still fighting the facts.

Republicans are rarely more embarrassing than when they talk science, as several House members demonstrated at a hearing this week.

Climate scientist Phil Duffy was among the witnesses at a House Science Committee hearing on Wednesday, and he had his hands full trying to educate Republicans on the effects of climate change.

In one exchange, Rep. Mo Brooks tried to blame significant sea-level rise on falling rocks.

"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," Brooks said.

"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," he continued.

"I'm pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects," Duffy deadpanned.

Later in the hearing, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) tried out a few other climate change denier cliches, repeating the myth that mainstream scientists fretted about "global cooling" in the 1970s, and trying to test out the idea that a warmer Earth is normal.

"What do you say to people who theorize that the Earth as it continues to warm is returning to its normal temperature?" he asked Duffy.

"Look, if you want to characterize a temperature above today's temperature as normal, you're free to do that, but that doesn't mean that's a planet we want to live on," Duffy replied.

"I don't want to get philosophical. I'm trying to stay on science here," Posey said.

"I'm not getting philosophical," Duffy said. "I'm getting extremely practical. I'm being extremely practical. If we let the planet warm 2 or 3 degrees, we will have tens of meters of sea-level rise, and the community where I live will essentially cease to exist."

Under the leadership of anti-science EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, Trump's administration has been a rolling disaster for the environment, and climate science in particular.

But Republicans in general have a long history of bad faith and ignorance about climate change, which neither Americans, nor the rest of the world, can afford to ignore.