During the consultation of the subcommittee on natural resources, Gohmert seemed to draw a connection between the moon and the Earth’s orbit and sunbeams against climate change. During the interrogation of U.S. Forest Service Associate Vice President Jennifer Eberlien, Gohmert asked if the National Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management could change orbits around the moon and Earth and made a comment that some saw as an attempt to argue that climate change should be seen . as a natural phenomenon rather than man-made.
“I was informed by the immediate former director of NASA that they have found that the moon̵
7;s orbit is changing slightly, and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” Gohmert said.
“We know there has been significant solar flare activity. And then is there anything the National Forest Service or the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the earth’s orbit around the sun? It is clear that would have profound effects on our climate, ”asked Congressman Eberlien.
Eberlien replied that she “should follow up with you, Mr. Gohmert.”
Facts first: Gohmert’s remark makes little sense. The insinuation that sun rays and orbital activity cause or greatly contribute to the climate change seen today is completely wrong. Greenhouse gases produced by humans are the primary driving force for the earth’s rapid warming.
Gohmert’s office did not respond to CNN’s requests to clarify his remarks, which were widely spotted on Twitter.
Brian Brettschneider, climate scientist and professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, wrote thinly, “We can not change the orbit of the Earth or the Moon. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.”
“The ‘science-y-sounding’ reasons most politicians use to reject climate change are not primarily due to a lack of education or knowledge,” Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and co-director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University, wrote on Twitter. “No: they are deliberately made and offered as tasty excuses to hide the real problem: solution aversion. They will not fix it.”
Everything Gohmert claimed has been debunked by NASA.
In an article written by NASA, the agency notes – with reference to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – that the “scientific consensus is that long-term and short-term variations in solar activity play only a very small role in the Earth’s climate.”
The article also notes that the greenhouse gas-powered heating produced by humans is “50 times greater than the small amount of extra heat coming from the sun itself over the same time interval.”
The idea that the shift of the Earth’s and the moon’s orbits is also a significant contributor to climate change is wrong.
As NASA notes in an article on the Earth’s orbital orbit, the cycles “cannot account for the current period of rapid warming.”
These cycles occur over tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Meanwhile, NASA says: “Scientists are certain that the Earth’s recent warming is primarily due to human activities – specifically the direct introduction of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.”
CNN’s Ryan Nobles and Brandon Miller contributed to this article.