Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked the U.S. Forest Service if it was possible to change the orbits of the moon or Earth to combat climate change. Was he serious?
What he asked about the moon and climate change
In a hearing on the House’s natural resources on Tuesday, Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who sits on the committee, asked Jennifer Eberlien, deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service, whether it was possible to change the lunar orbit, or Earth, as a way to combat climate change. on:
For those of you who would like to read a transcript of the exchange, this is what was said:
Gohmert: I understand what has been witnessed by the Forest Service and BLM [Bureau of Land Management] you would very much like to work on the issue of climate change.
I was informed by the immediate former director of NASA that they have found that the moon’s orbit is changing a bit, and the same goes for the earth’s orbit around the sun. And we know that there has been significant solar flare.
And then is there anything the National Forest Service or BLM can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the earth’s orbit around the sun? It would, of course, have profound effects on our climate.
Eberlien: I’ll have to follow up on you, Mr Gohmert.
Gohmert: Yes, well, if you find out how you can make that change in the forest service, I would like to know.
What the forest service does
In the words of the US Forest Service:
We are a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture that manages 193 million acres of land, approximately the size of Texas.
We manage public lands in the form of national forests and grasslands, provide technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies and constitute the largest forestry research organization in the world.
Moving moons and planets are not in their area of responsibility. Or someone else, for that matter.
What NASA says about this theory
NASA published a blog in February 2020 that says:
In the last few months, a number of questions have arisen asking whether NASA has attributed the Earth’s recent warming to changes in how the Earth moves through space around the Sun: a series of orbital motions known as Milankovitch cycles.
NASA then answers the question and enters bold italics:
Milankovitch cycles cannot explain all the climate change that has occurred over the last 2.5 million years or so. And more importantly, they can not account for current period of rapid warming The earth has experienced since the pre-industrial period (the period between 1850 and 1900) and especially since the middle of 20th Century. Scientists are convinced that the Earth’s recent warming is primarily due to human activities – specifically the direct supply of carbon dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.
Gohmert’s question is, of course, utterly ridiculous. No one has the power to move the moon, and he knows it.
So even though Gohmert comes across as a complete idiot, he probably is not. The selection he sits in gives him a platform – a speaker corner, if you will. He asked a silly question as a distraction tactic to make the completely boneless point that combating climate change is about as possible as moving the moon.
And it worked! The media – inclusive Electrek – covered his question. Ridiculous comments and behaviors attract media attention.
Gohmert is a Texan. And while Texas leads the United States in terms of wind power and its solar industry is growing rapidly, its Republican politicians are still very much in Big Oil’s pocket. (You can see monetary contributions to Gohmert from fossil fuel interests here.)
So if one can not come up with a rational reason to continue using fossil fuels as the world rapidly shifts to clean energy to tackle the climate crisis, one can always go with a ridiculous angle to entertain its supporters and distract media away from the real issue, namely that climate change is serious and it is real.
And Gohmert goes on to try to distract by acting like people thought he meant “Black Lives Matter” when he referred to the “Bureau of Land Management” as “BLM”:
Gohmert’s moon and climate change issue is funny, to say the least, because it’s stupid. What is not funny is his refusal to acknowledge the need for clean energy and the reality of climate change. But he cannot stop the rise of pure energy, no matter how many stupid questions he asks as a distraction. The world will leave him and fossil fuels behind.
Photo: David Dibert / Unsplash
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