Texas Rep. Asks If Government Agencies Can Change The Orbit of The Earth, The Moon, To Solve Climate Change
On today's installment of politicians continually attempting to stop climate change by doing literally anything except reduce emissions, halt pollution, promote recycling initiatives, and being even somewhat decent to the environment, Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert asked an expert representing the U.S. Forest Service whether altering the orbit of the moon or the Earth could possibly put the kibosh on global warming.
"I understand from what's been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM [ a.k.a the Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change," Gohmert said to Jennifer Eberlein, who serves as associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, amid a hearing for the House Natural Resources Committee. "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, noting that a former NASA director mentioned that the Moon and Earth's orbits were shifting. "Obviously they would have profound effects on our climate."
While it is unclear whether this was meant as a serious question or strange troll accomplishing approximately nothing, Eberlein, exhibiting more patience than any of us, took the inquiry in stride. "I would have to follow up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert," Eberlien replied. However, it seems the lawmaker was dead-set on shifting orbits miraculously solving climate change.
"Well, if you figure out a way that you in the Forest Service can make that change, I'd like to know," he replied.
While this strange inquiry quickly gained traction online, with social media users questioning the sanctity of the Representative's science, Gohmert issued a clarification to his statement shortly after – throwing a conniption over the fact that a reporter kept the "BLM" acronym mentioned in his initial quote as such, instead of specifically denoting that he was referring to the Bureau of Land Management.
“Exceedingly devious how you hid the context with an ellipses in your tweet,” he wrote in a Twitter reply to journalist Kurt Andersen, who shared a screenshot featuring his quote. “The hearing was about the BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT & climate change. BLM stands for the BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT,” he continued, adding the hashtag #FakeNews. Nice.
While as The Hill noted, there is some rationale behind Gohmert's idea of how orbits work, overall, his statement doesn't stand when considering the broader contexts of climate change. “Earth's orbit changes from being close to perfectly circular to being slightly more elliptical in a cycle that takes about 100,000 years,” wrote reporter Joseph Choi. “The orbit is currently around as close to being circular as it can be,” he continued, noting that "The angle at which the Earth tilts also shifts slightly or "wobbles" on its axis over the course of tens of thousands of years."
Although these shifts may have some impact on climate in the near and distant future alike, their impact is “relatively minor,” and generally unrelated to climate change.
So kids, if you're reading this, please pay attention in science class especially if you want to become a politician. It's not that hard!