Al Gore was challenged on climate science Tuesday night when the mayor of Tangier Island, a community threatened by coastal erosion, told the environmentalist film producer he hadn’t seen the sea level change since he began his first career as a commercial crabber in 1970.
Gore was taking questions from the audience at a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper when the fisherman and Tangier Island Mayor James Eskridge refuted Gore’s assertion that rising sea levels were endangering coastal communities.
“I’m a commercial crabber and I’ve been working the Chesapeake Bay for 50+ years. I have a crab house business out on the water and the water level is the same as it was when the place was built in 1970,” Eskridge said. “I’m not a scientist, but I am a keen observer and if sea level rises are occurring, why am I not seeing signs of it?”
Eskridge went on to say that erosion was slowly eating away at the island, but it was a natural force caused by “wave action [and] storms.”
“Have [the storms] increased any?” Gore asked.
“Not really,” Tangier’s mayor responded.
Tangier Island has lost 66 percent of its land to erosion since 1850. Eskridge has asked the Trump administration for help building a sea wall to stop the island from disappearing, CBS News reports.
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