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

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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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