On Tuesday, parts of downtown Davenport, Iowa dramatically flooded after temporary flood barriers failed to stave off the gushing Mississippi River—which has crested to near record-setting levels in parts of Iowa and Illinois after hard-hitting snowfall this winter and heavy rain (such as that bomb cyclone in March). It’s part of a particularly bad flood season statewide.
Naturally, some folks are wondering whether these floods are worsened by climate change, which scientists say is tied to extreme weather. One person not to ask is Iowa Representative Steve King—you know, the unapologetic fascist who pals around with white supremacists—who explained to his constituents on Wednesday that yes, climate change might result in more rain, but maybe they can move to the desert or something.
Per the Sioux City Journal, at a town hall meeting in Cherokee, Iowa last week, King responded to a question on climate geo-engineering by suggesting that everything bad (warming global average temperatures) must also result in something good (something something wet deserts something).
“You mentioned the global warming part of this, the weather patterns that are there,” King told the audience. “But I think that, I began, when I first looked at that, I thought, ‘I’m hearing all these things that are bad, well, what could be good?’ Surely there is something on the other side that could be good. So, let’s just say that if the earth should warm by four degrees, or whatever that number might be, then I’ve had to measure the evaporation off of, in the summertime.”
“Seventy percent of the earth is covered by water. If the earth warms, then there is evaporation that goes into the atmosphere. According to Newton’s First Law of Physics, what goes up must come down,” King added, per the City Journal. “... That means it will rain more and more places. It might rain harder in some places, it might snow in some of those places. But it’s surely gotta shrink the deserts and expand the green growth, there’s surely got to be some good in that. So I just look at the other, good side.”
This is basically not worth fact checking, because King has no idea what he is talking about (he may want to check up on his understanding of Newton’s “First Law of Physics”). But for what it’s worth, NASA scientists have actually predicted that the way this will go down is, broadly speaking, wet regions getting wetter and dry regions getting drier—a phenomenon called amplification of the water cycle—and studies have shown that large swathes of the world could be prone to aridification, or drying out. As Grist noted, the Midwest is likely to see soaring temperatures and significantly decreased crop yields if humans keep emitting greenhouse gases at a dangerous rate.