Rep. Steve King Doesn’t Know How Sea Level Works

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).Pete Marovich/ZumaPress.com

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


On Wednesday, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), last seen evaluating the leg muscles of undocumented immigrants, told a town hall audience in Iowa that we have nothing to fear from climate change—we probably won’t even notice it. Per the Fort Dodge Messenger:

“Everything that might result from a warmer planet is always bad in (environmentalists’) analysis,” he said. “There will be more photosynthesis going on if the Earth gets warmer. … And if sea levels go up 4 or 6 inches, I don’t know if we’d know that.”

He said sea level is not a precise measurement.

“We don’t know where sea level is even, let alone be able to say that it’s going to come up an inch globally because some polar ice caps might melt because there’s CO2 suspended in the atmosphere,” he said.

One reason Steve King probably might not notice four inches of sea level is that he lives in northwest Iowa. But Iowans are already beginning to feel the effects of anthropogenic climate change—hard. According to the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa, climate change has dramatically increased the impact of flooding and drought in the region, with serious economic consequences. But it’s a not a question of seas rising four to six inches, as serious as that might be. As my colleague Chris Mooney reported, humans have already set in motion about 69 feet of sea level rise, with devastating consequences for such sparsely populated areas as New York City, New Orleans, and the entire nation of Bangladesh.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate