Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) baffled a climate scientist during a congressional hearing on climate change this week by claiming that rocks falling into the ocean are responsible for rising sea levels.
An E&E News report published in Science Mag reveals that Brooks, during a hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee this week, pressed Woods Hole Research Center President Philip Duffy to consider alternative explanations for sea levels rising that didn’t involve human activity warming the planet.
In particular, Brooks proposed that land erosion — and most specifically, large rocks falling into the ocean — could be the primary culprit for rising sea levels.
“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 said.
Duffy was not impressed by this hypothesis.
“I’m pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects,” Duffy said, as rocks have been falling into oceans for millions of years and couldn’t plausibly be responsible for the pace of sea level rises that have been shown in recent decades.