Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes at how Republicans were chosen to serve on the new House global warming committee:
House Republican Leader John Boehner would have appointed Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to the bipartisan Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming — but only if the Maryland Republican would say humans are not causing climate change, Gilchrest said.
“I said, ‘John, I can’t do that,’” Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., said in an interview. “He said, ‘Come on. Do me a favor. I want to help you here.’”
Gilchrest didn’t make the committee. Neither did other Republican moderates or science-minded members, whose guidance centrist GOP members usually seek on the issue. Republican moderates, called the Tuesday Group, invited Boehner to this week’s meeting to push for different representation.
Gilchrest, who co-chairs the House Climate Change Caucus, has long been an environmental-protection advocate and has co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to 70 percent below 1990 levels.
He expressed his interest in the committee several times to Boehner and Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, telling them the best thing they could do for Republican credibility was to appoint members familiar with the scientific data.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a research scientist from Maryland, and Michigan’s Rep. Vern Ehlers, the first research physicist to serve in Congress, also made cases for a seat, but weren’t appointed, he said.
“Roy Blunt said he didn’t think there was enough evidence to suggest that humans are causing global warming,” Gilchrest said. “Right there, holy cow, there’s like 9,000 scientists to three on that one.”