After years of denying the scientific consensus, it seems that the GOP is finally coming around to the idea that climate change is a real problem that needs to be dealt with. While most plans to deal with the climate crisis center around cutting emissions, Rep. Louie Gohmert has a different solution. In a House Natural Resource committee hearing on Tuesday, the Republican congressman from Texas’ 1st district suggested an idea that’s, well, unconventional to say the least.
Gohmert was questioning Jennifer Eberlien, an associate deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service. “I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM, you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” Gohmert said, referring to the Bureau of Land Management (not Black Lives Matter). “I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We know there’s been significant solar flare activity.” This alludes to a debunked theory that orbital cycles rather than greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change. It is true that orbital motions known as Milankovitch cycles have caused climate change in the past, but NASA says that it cannot explain the warming we are seeing now.
Gohmert then proceeded to ask about a solution that’s out of this world. “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?” asked Gohmert. “Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate.”
“I would have to follow up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert,” replied Eberlien, who could barely keep a straight face. “If you figure out there’s a way in the Forest Service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” responded Gohmert.
Gohmert’s comments immediately became the target of ridicule. NBC News dubbed Gohmert’s idea the “Lunar New Deal.” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) tweeted that the superhero Captain Marvel was the answer and that he was working on a bipartisan resolution to ask for her help.
Gohmert, who is widely considered the dumbest member of Congress, has a history of questionable statements about science, among other things. In 2012, Gohmert expressed his belief that the trans-Alaskan pipeline was good for the local caribou population. His rationale was that the warmth of the pipeline makes the caribou have more sex. “When they want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline,” said Gohmert. “So my real concern now …if oil stops running through the pipeline…do we need a study to see how adversely the caribou would be affected if that warm oil ever quit flowing?”
Gohmert has not further clarified his statements about changing the orbits of the Moon and Earth. However, he has taken umbrage with a tweet from writer Kurt Andersen that omitted the fact that the “BLM” Gohmert was referring to was the Bureau of Land Management. “The hearing was about the BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT & climate change.” tweeted Gohmert. “BLM stands for the BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. #FakeNews”