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GOP Congressman: Rocks, Silt the Cause of Rising Seas

Erosion is 'primary cause of sea level rise in the history of our planet,' says Mo Brooks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2018 8:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – "What about the White Cliffs of Dover?" With that, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology made clear his skepticism about human-driven climate change Wednesday, suggesting rocks falling into the sea accounted for sea level rise. Alabama Republican Mo Brooks responded to a scientist's comment that "the last 100-year increase in sea-level rise … has clearly been attributed to human activities, greenhouse gas emissions" by asking if "other factors" like erosion could be at play. As "huge tons of silt" are deposited in the sea, "the bottom is moving up," Brooks said during the hearing about using technology to address climate change. Plus "you have the cliffs crashing into the sea. All of that displaces water," Brooks said, per the Guardian.

Scientist Philip Duffy responded by noting erosion was responsible for "minuscule effects" in sea level rise; it would take a ball of earth 8 miles in diameter to raise ocean levels by about 0.1 inches, per the Washington Post. On Thursday, Brooks circled back to the topic on the House floor, per AL.com. "Erosion is the primary cause of sea level rise in the history of our planet," he added, "and these people who say to the contrary may know something about climate but they don't know squat about geology. Keep in mind I'm talking millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of years." Duffy also had follow-up comments Thursday, telling CNN sea-level rise is "really caused by climate change." (Read more climate change stories.)

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