As A Box Of Rocks. That Dumb (GOP Climate Change Edition)

File this one under the “It matters too much too laugh, and my tear ducts are dry”:

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) questioned Duffy on the factors that contribute to sea-level rise, pointing out that land subsidence plays a role, as well as human activity.

Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise, which is not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers. He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile, is contributing to sea-level rise.

“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.

My man (or is he an ambulatory ficus?) Mo is not the only Republican to be, let us say, profoundly and proudly ignorant of basic knowledge.  (Another way of putting it is that this is another Republican bluntly lying about a critical issue that will affect — read harm — millions of Americans, and  billions of humans.) Here’s House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chair (sic!) Lamar Smith:

At one point, Smith showed a slide of two charts that he said demonstrated how the rate of sea-level rise does not equal the sharp spike in the consumption of fossil fuels. When Smith pointed out that rates of sea-level rise have only increased slightly compared with the rate of fossil fuel use, Duffy pointed out that his chart was from a single tide gauge station, near San Francisco, and that sea levels rise at different rates around the world. Smith did not show rising atmospheric CO2levels or temperatures, both of which have climbed steadily in recent decades as emissions have increased.

And because no catalogue of Republican malicious misrepresentation would be complete without the Kremlin’s man on Capitol Hill, Dana Rohrbacher, here’s his contribution to the enstupiding of America:

“I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether mankind is the main cause of the temperature changing and the climate changing,'” [Rohrbacher] said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

More of the same at the link: BS about ice sheets, masturbatory distraction on what temperature is “normal” on earth and so on.

We are asked to show respect for our fellow citizens on the other side of the aisle. My response: respect is earned.

Image: J.M.W. Turner, The Sun of Venice going out to sea, 1843

63 replies
  1. 1
    Yarrow says:

    I have no respect for these people. They are worse than willfully stupid; they actively work to hurt people and pursue policies to damage our environment while enriching themselves.

    ReplyReply
  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    See, this gets me furious…

    ReplyReply
  3. 3
    Victory says:

    “I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether the sun is at the center of our solar system,’” [Rohrbacher] said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

    ReplyReply
  4. 4
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

    Exordinary claims, exordinary evidence, etc.

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    Kelly says:

    “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

    Keep an open mind but not so open your brain falls out.

    ReplyReply
  6. 6

    Closed hearts and closed minds.

    ReplyReply
  7. 7
    Nicole says:

    I think about Dubya being asked about how history would view the Iraq invasion and his response was basically, who cares, we’ll all be dead in a hundred years. I swear, that’s their mindset. It’s not going to affect them, because they’ll be dead in 40 years. I guess, if they even give a sh*t about their descendants, they figure they’ll steal enough money now that their grandkids can go afford to go live in that underwater hotel off what’s left of the Maldives.

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    WilliamC says:

    As more and more days pass, I’m becoming convinced that Pussygrabber is the white Louis Farrakhan: a racial provocateur who uses flashy ringmaster tactics, religious dogwhistles, and good-old fashioned hate on his supportive ethnically-similar brethren to forward his own personal agenda. My brothers, cousins, and friends were falling into the orbit of the Nation of Islam back in the 1990s and I remember thinking these things about Minister Farrakhan then, being incensed that he was able to get folks to follow him. Apparently his game was small-time compared to the Gathering of the Trumpenproletariat.

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    Rob in CT says:

    @Victory:

    The fuck is he even saying? Is he ACTUALLY questioning heliocentrism? Or is that a hamfisted attempt to bring up “the Sun is driving the warming” argument (which is bunk, but less obviously stupid bunk)?

    ReplyReply
  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    My response: respect is earned.

    So is disrespect, and the MAGAts have earned the disrespect they are shown in spades.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    father pusbucket says:

    How do you know the moon isn’t made of cheese? It’s a valid point of view! And the moon landings were faked!

    ReplyReply
  12. 12
    ruemara says:

    these are the dumbest people. But you know what, they beat us smart folks. Why? All the super duper smart people were too blase about voting, especially for local seats. For ages. You left power just sitting around for any yahoo to find it & guess what? They found it.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    These bastards are doing their level best to hasten our and a significant fraction of the world’s species’ demise. Pruitt and Zinke are their standard-bearers but they’ve been out there for decades now. Isn’t this at least misdemeanor assault?

    ReplyReply
  14. 14

    @ruemara: Some so called smart people decided making snarky comebacks on social media was enough.

    ETA: Rs are terrible at policy but good at politics. It also helps that they have the media in their back pockets.

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    TenguPhule says:

    These Republicans are going to get our species all killed in the long term.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Rs are terrible at policy but good at politics

    Actually they’re not even good at that.

    The problem is they cheat and never pay a sufficiently steep penalty for it.

    ReplyReply
  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    @trollhattan:

    Isn’t this at least misdemeanor assault?

    Premeditated murder.

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
    maya says:

    Not only that, if we damned up all the rivers of the world many times over then a lot of that water would not go back into the sea, which would keep levels down and, even Mo’ betta yet…. lakeside properties for everyone!
    [This was actually a thing here in NorCal back in the ’60s when a planned dam by PG&E turned a huuuge logging loop road near one river into a big RE lakeside speculative investment opp. The dam never happened and today that loop road is a major MJ producer. Where they get the water from is a different cautionary tale.]

    ReplyReply
  19. 19
    Yarrow says:

    Buzzfeed has a story

    All through the hot summer campaign of 2016, as Donald Trump and his aides dismissed talk of unseemly ties to Moscow, two of his key business partners were working furiously on a secret track: negotiations to build what would have been the tallest building in Europe and an icon of the Trump empire — the Trump World Tower Moscow.

    Talks to construct the 100-story building continued even as the presidential candidate alternately bragged about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and rejected suggestions of Russian influence, and as Russian agents worked to sway US public opinion on Trump’s behalf.

    While fragments of the Trump Moscow venture have trickled out — most recently in a report last night by Yahoo News — this is the definitive story of the Moscow tower, told from a trove of emails, text messages, congressional testimony, architectural renderings, and other documents obtained exclusively by BuzzFeed News, as well as interviews with key players and investigators. The documents reveal a detailed and plausible plan, well-connected Russian counterparts, and an effort that extended from spearfishing with a Russian developer on a private island to planning for a mid-campaign trip to Moscow for the presidential candidate himself.

    Tick tock, motherfuckers.

    ReplyReply
  20. 20
    Yarrow says:

    @Yarrow: Also from the article.

    Negotiations for Cohen to visit Russia began to heat up. On Dec. 13, Sater emailed that he had an old friend on the phone with him right then, who was trying to arrange the trip. This friend is a former member of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit that the US intelligence community believes interfered during the 2016 election.

    Sater had known the spy for decades. He was one of Sater’s most reliable contacts during the two decades he worked as a confidential source for US law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The man, who is not being named because CIA officials say his life could be in jeopardy, delivered to Sater Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone numbers in 1998 and, later, handed over photographs of a North Korean official seeking nuclear weapons.

    The man is no longer formally associated with the GRU, but Sater told Senate investigators he understands that “there is no such thing as a former Russian spy.” The former spy declined to comment.

    Oh, they are so fucked. Sooooo fucked.

    ReplyReply
  21. 21
    Neldob says:

    Took a walk in the woods the other day and it left me feeling in love with our little, beautiful planet. Rs are like barbarians with no love or respect trashing whatever they lay their eyes on. Rohrbacher is particularly deplorable.

    ReplyReply
  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    @ruemara: Brilliant.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    VeniceRiley says:

    I’m not in Rohrbacher’s district anymore. Sad that I can’t vote against him. But I do have a shot at taking down Mimi Walters, and that’s a nice consolation prize!

    ReplyReply
  24. 24
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    Mo Brooks is a nut, but he isn’t stupid enough to believe the falling rock yarn, so I’d say he’s lying his ass off to further a political agenda. It is worth noting that climate deniers John Christy and Roy Spencer set up a nice little alternative facts climate sandbox at University of Alabama Huntsville in Brooks’ district. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were feeding him the rocks/silt line of obfuscation. Crazy thing is, this is a very well educated and tech savvy electorate, at least by Alabama standards, but many have bought the no climate change crap, hook line & sinker.

    Mo Brooks will have a Democratic opponent this fall. I believe it will be former Huntsville City Attorney Peter Joffrion. Perhaps he can make some political hay off the falling rocks silliness.

    ReplyReply
  25. 25
    jonas says:

    They forgot whale farts. They produce huge bubbles that displace water, leading to sea-level rise.

    ReplyReply
  26. 26
    Skepticat says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Closed hearts and closed minds.

    I rather doubt they have either hearts or minds, open or closed.

    ReplyReply
  27. 27

    @TenguPhule:

    Actually they’re not even good at that.

    You don’t have to be a good businessman if you’ve got a monopoly. The Republicans are the only game in town for white supremacy, and half our nation will gladly crawl over broken glass for white supremacy.

    ReplyReply
  28. 28
    opiejeanne says:

    @White & Gold Purgatorian: Climate change deniers are vile and the people who believe their nonsense are either gullible or in denial. My daughter works for a company that ships goods between Seattle and Alaska, and on a trip to Alaska she met a man who talked about how huge a glacier used to be and how it has diminished just in the past ten years, but he was quick to add that he doesn’t believe in climate change. Her mind was boggled.

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    Leto says:

    @jonas: User name checks out as credible source.

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    danjos says:

    My theory is that I am either laughing to tears or crying at all the stupid shit Repubs say, and it is our collective tears that are raising sea levels.

    ReplyReply
  31. 31
    stinger says:

    @ruemara: This. I know people who voted for the top of the ticket (President) and left the rest blank, because they couldn’t be bothered to find out who was running and what the issues were. When actually local and state government have a HUGE effect on your life.

    So then, after another election or two, those local yahoos have name recognition and they coast to reelection or run for and win higher office. Just because people don’t pay attention to local races.

    ReplyReply
  32. 32
    Yarrow says:

    @stinger: The rightwing Republicans have been working on this since the 1980’s. Took over local party apparatus, then moved up the ladder.

    ReplyReply
  33. 33
    gene108 says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the Republican desire to deny climate science. Is it some Christian fundie thing, wherein God gave Man the Earth pillage as Man pleases, without any consequences? Is it just because their donors don’t want them to deal with it?

    I know it’s probably a combination of the two and some other things I am missing, but I don’t get what their end game is. Just hope and pray 99% of scientists are wrong? And that their kids and grand kids will not be in a world of hurt, because of their inaction?

    These people are nuts.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34

    @gene108: A lot of their money comes from fossil fuel industry, climate science hits their sugar daddies in the pocket book, hence the denial.

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    catclub says:

    “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.

    the real reason for rising sea level is all that river water running into the oceans! and he did not even mention THAT!

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    @opiejeanne:
    It’s all just naaaatural fluuuuuctuation, man! The climate has always been changing. Tides come in, tides go out, you can’t explain that.

    Rinse, repeat, buy more conditioner.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    trollhattan says:

    Fox Blonde put in charge of Fox Blondes.

    It ain’t noon but I’m really considering a nice stiff drink.

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    catclub says:

    @gene108:

    Is it just because their donors don’t want them to deal with it?

    I think this.

    In the back of their lizard brains, they know that if you decide that fossil fuel use will be reduced, then there is some (pretty big)
    fraction of oil that is NEVER going to be pumped out. Now look at what assets are held by the major oil companies. Oil in the ground is a big part of those assets. Once you decide that oil is NEVER going to be pumped out, those assets are no longer assets.

    Deny and delay any recognition of those impaired assets.

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    TenguPhule says:

    @trollhattan:

    It ain’t noon but I’m really considering a nice stiff drink.

    Its always five o clock at Balloon Juice!

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    Ya know, some people are just too stupid to keep living.

    “Now watch this drive.”

    ReplyReply
  41. 41
    Aleta says:

    @catclub: Wail til Rep Brooks learns about mid-ocean ridges and all that lava !

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    According to my Twitter feed, Trump is now saying that
    1) we will not let North Korea get nuclear weapons
    2) that we will not use “the Libya model” if Kim agrees to denuclearize
    3) “the Libya model” is that we will decimate the country if Kim doesn’t agree.

    It probably would be better for knowledgeable people not to try to brief him at all. He seems to get the opposite of what they tell him.

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    trollhattan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Does he propose to unessplode the nukes NK has already sploded? I have a hard time keeping up with the supergenius.

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    catclub says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    He seems to get the opposite of what they tell him.

    wasn’t there concern by his classified briefers about just that? If they told him “do not tell the Russians about this”, the first thing he would do is tell the russians. Naturally, Israeli intelligence assets may have died, but… bygones.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    NYCMT says:

    a good estimate of global sediment is in Milliman and Syvitsky (1992) about 20 billion tons annually. At 1600 kg/cubic meter, this works out to around 12.5 cubic kilometers of sediment per year. To raise the global ocean level one centimeter, one would need to add or displace ~4700 cubic kilometers of sea water. Since global sea level rise since 1990 has been about seven centimeters, total erosion would have had to be about 100 times historical levels.

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    1) we will not let North Korea get nuclear weapons
    2) that we will not use “the Libya model” if Kim agrees to denuclearize
    3) “the Libya model” is that we will decimate the country if Kim doesn’t agree.

    Even for Trump this is kinda pushing new bounderies of stupid.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise,

    This reminds me of the creationist argument that if the earth were millions of years old, why aren’t we burred under mountains of dead bodies.

    The correct reply to Brooks is has he considered that sea level rises are caused by the amount of raw sewage humans are dumping into the ocean?

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    S says:

    For those curious, I did some back-of-the-envelope math. According to a 2009 study by Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, (“Land2Sea database of river drainage basin sizes, annual water discharges, and suspended sediment fluxes” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/2008GC002356), rivers deposit about 18.5 billion tons of suspended sediment into the ocean each year. How much would this cause the sea level to rise? Well, the packed sediment volume is about 5.6 billion m^3 (assuming density of 3000 kg/m^3). Suppose you spread the sediment evenly over the entire ocean floor (361.9 million square kilometers). Then it would form a layer 16 micrometers thick (a bit less than a thousandth of an inch). This would account for a bit less than 0.9% of the observed annual sea level rise.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49
    Rob in CT says:

    @gene108:

    Climate Change is the biggest collective action problem in human history. The response *must* involve government action (although of course many of us have pointed out for a long time now that the earlier you start, the less draconian it has to be, and there are more and less market friendly options), likely quite a bit of it. It will also cost particularly connected rich people money (though it would also make a bunch of new rich people, of course). Anyway, if it’s a real problem, then it follows that the government must be empowered to combat it, and that’s just nightmare fuel for Republicans. So that’s the start of it. There’s also cultural issues (those fuckin’ eggheads, what do they know? + the religion thing you mentioned) and of course, Cleek’s Law. If climate change is really happening and is caused almost entirely by human activity, then… OMG… the… the liberals were… um… RIGHT. And that’s a truly horrifying thought…

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    NotMax says:

    @Cheryl Rofer

    It probably would be better for knowledgeable people not to try to brief him at all.

    And as the l’affaire Daniels demonstrates, debriefing him ain’t no walk in the park either.

    ;)

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @gene108:

    Just hope and pray 99% of scientists are wrong? And that their kids and grand kids will not be in a world of hurt, because of their inaction?

    God will provide either by rapture or miracles. I seem to recall James Watt arguing that we weren’t going to be around much longer because of end times so we might as well party.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @NYCMT: Thanks. Displacement isn’t an inherently bad argument until you have information about how little there is.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    oaguabonita says:

    Ya know what else is “a little disturbing to hear”, Dana? That anyone as profoundly stupid AND ignorant (not the same thing!) as you was ever appointed to any committee with “Science” in its name!

    I presume it’s The Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver who should be held accountable for that travesty (but is instead poised to profit handsomely from Wingnut Welfare while “spending more time with family” in “retirement”).

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    oaguabonita says:

    @gene108: Nuts or evil? Always the operative question with them.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @S: and see! you did not even bother to realize that all the fresh water MUST have raised sea-level much more
    than the sediment. Since didn’t all that water go into the ocean basins? huh? huh? Now evaporation, that is just something that pointy headed scientists talk about.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    catclub says:

    @oaguabonita: porque no los dos?

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    oaguabonita says:

    @Rob in CT: Poe’s Law strikes again. Pretty confident victory took some liberties with the actual quote for comedic effect. Effectively!

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @S:

    (assuming density of 3000 kg/m^3).

    This seems high to me. I like NYCMT’s 1600
    a little better. Of course in order of magnitude estimates, both are definitely in the same ballpark.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59
    oaguabonita says:

    @catclub: Por supuesto, los dos estan posible en mismo tiempo.

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    oaguabonita says:

    @schrodingers_cat: “Follow the money.” Deepthroat’s advice still sound 4 1/2 decades on.

    @gene108: A lot of their money comes from fossil fuel industry, climate science hits their sugar daddies in the pocket book, hence the denial.

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    oaguabonita says:

    Is a box of rocks dumber, or not quite as dumb, as a bag of hammers? I can never seem to keep them straight.

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    boatboy_srq says:

    This is the same group of wingnuts that think they are in a permanent majority, and that think they can cut taxes, increase spending and balance the budget all at once. STEM is not their strong suit.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    Tehanu says:

    @gene108: They care much more about their wallets than they do about their kids and grandkids. The kids probably annoyed them when they were teenagers and their grandkids probably snark at them because they don’t understand how Minecraft works and can’t figure out how to download apps to their phones (mine certainly snark at me for those very reasons!) — so their attitude is, why should they give up their Porsche SUV’s and golf club memberships on account of their offspring? Screw ’em!

    ReplyReply

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *