The Texas Republican congressman Louie Gohmert has asked a senior U.S. government official if changing the moon’s orbit around the Earth, or the Earth’s orbit around the sun, might be a solution for climate change.
Bizarrely, the question was not posed to anyone from NASA or even the Pentagon. Instead it was asked of a senior forestry service official during a House natural resources committee hearing on Tuesday.
Speaking with Jennifer Eberlien, associate deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Gohmert asked if it was possible to alter the orbits of the moon, or the Earth, as a way of combating climate change.
“I understand from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” Gohmert said, adding that a past director of NASA had once told him that orbits of the moon and the Earth were indeed changing.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity, and so… is there anything that 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?” Gohmert asked. “Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate.”
Eberlien said she would have to “follow up with you on that one, Mr Gohmert.”
“Well, if you figure out a way that you in the Forest Service can make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert added.
Though he seemed to be entirely earnest, some observers have posited that Gohmert was seeking to express a belief that climate change was a phenomenon of natural changes in the orbits of celestial bodies, and so any other efforts to address it would be futile.
Gohmert’s question comes three years after a congressional science, space and technology committee hearing, focused on how technology could be deployed for climate change adaptation, heard from the Alabama Republican Mo Brooks on the subject of sea-level rise.
Brooks posited a theory that erosion from land plays a significant role in sea-level rise, including silt from the world’s major rivers, and rocks along the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover falling into the sea.
“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.